Why the rash of Houston-area school bus thefts?

by 1389 on October 7, 2007

in crime, school terrorism, security, vehicle theft, vehicles and transportation

Tiny animated school bus Seems there’s been a rash of school buses disappearing from the Houston area.

The National Terror Alert website points out some ominous possibilities:

We don’t know what purpose the thieves had in mind for the buses.

Best-case scenario: The perpetrators are caught. No more school bus thefts, no more worries.

If we’re lucky: The buses are headed for third-world countries, where they’ll be sold, repainted, and put to work on local bus routes. Or they’re off to a chop shop to be resold as parts.

If we’re not: One or more of the buses are being hidden somewhere, to be used for future criminal activities or for perpetrating acts of terrorist violence. School buses provide effective cover for attacks upon schools or school-age children.

How aware are police and sheriff’s departments of this security vulnerability?

  • These buses could be anywhere. We would like to know whether an up-to-date list of stolen school buses, with VIN numbers and physical descriptions, is being circulated to state and local public safety departments throughout the U.S. If this has not been done, it certainly should be!
  • If you work for a police or sheriff’s department, we suggest that you discuss this with the appropriate person, so that your department will have the best chance of locating the missing school buses if they should turn up in your jurisdiction.
  • If you serve on a school board, please communicate with your fellow board members, and with your state and local public safety officials, regarding school counterterrorism preparedness.
  • If you work at any facility that repaints or services buses, pay close attention to used school buses that are brought in by individuals or organizations that you are not familiar with. If you suspect that the bus may be stolen, call the authorities to check out the VIN number.

“What else can I do?”

  • Keep an eye out for any school bus or yellow-painted bus that appears to be abandoned, or is being driven, parked, or stored in any unusual location where you would not ordinarily expect to find a school bus. Call the authorities to check out anything suspicious.
  • Know who will be driving the bus for your school, church, or non-profit organization. If the bus and driver are provided by a transportation service, be sure that the company is performing solid background checks on their drivers.

(Updated 10/20/07) See: Where ARE those missing Houston-area school buses?


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Keegan October 8, 2007 at 7:12 am

Wow. This is the first I heard about the problem. Recovering the buses would be ideal, but I hope that they aren’t returned to us as bombs on wheels!

2 Norski October 8, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for the heads-up!

I hope, of course, that this is simply a criminal case: but agree that it’s best to be aware.

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BTW, this page takes quite a long time to display on the best computer in this household (MS XP, AMD Athlon 64 Processor, 2.01GHz, 1.5 GB RAM). I’ve stopped trying to access it on lesser machines.

You’ve got an excellent blog here, but I’m hesitant to use it as a source – quite a few of my viewers don’t have anywhere near up-to-date systems.

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