Police arrest four juveniles accused in theft of school buses, hit and runs
Two more suspects sought
Maxim Alter, WCPO Digital , Jesse Folk, WCPO Digital
5:56 PM, Jul 10, 2013
11:22 AM, Jul 12, 2013
CINCINNATI -- Police are looking for two more suspects in the theft of almost a dozen school buses and other vehicles that were said to be taken for a "joy ride" throughout Cincinnati last week.
Four juveniles have been arrested and made court appearances. Police believe the two remaining suspects are a juvenile and an adult.
Police said the suspects stole the buses from Petermann Bus Company in Golf Manor on July 4 and ditched them in several communities early July 5.
Officers said they arrested one juvenile on Tuesday and three others on Wednesday. All were charged and transported to the Hamilton County Juvenile Youth Center.
The charges vary for each suspect and include felony theft and vandalism.
Cincinnati police received complaints of juveniles driving school buses at about 3 p.m. Thursday, near the area of Section and Seymour avenues.
Six yellow short buses, two short white buses with blue stripes, one service truck and a van were taken, according to officials.
One bus may have been involved in a hit-and-run. Several hit and skip accidents were reported, which may have involved the buses, officers report.
Two buses were extensively damaged and are likely to be declared a total loss. However, authorities said most of the damage to the other buses appeared to be repairable.
Police said some of the stolen vehicles were found in Lincoln Heights, Norwood and Golf Manor. Others were found at an impound lot, and two were found wrecked and covered in mud on the company's property.
Petermann Supervisor Ralph Brown said a mechanic at the bus barn called him early on July 5 to say it appeared people had been on the lot. After running inventory, workers said they realized some buses were missing.
Brown said this is the first time buses have been stolen from the company. He said he believes someone took the buses "for a joy ride."
The company said the stolen buses had not been in use because school is out for the summer.
Investigators said a lot of people can usually be seen coming in and out of the lot where the buses were parked so it's hard for people to tell who is working and who isn't supposed to be there.
A few of the buses are owned by the Hamilton County-Cincinnnati Commmunity Action Agency. CAA spokesperson Michelle Hopkins said the vehicles are leased to Petermann and insurance will cover any damage.
The Golf Manor Police Department is reaching out to other agencies in the county which may have had hit and skip accidents in their jurisdiction related to the school bus thefts.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 513-352-3040.