Houston Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Division, the FBI and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are all concerned about a large number of school buses that have been stolen in the Houston area over the last several months.
An 11 News investigation uncovered that 17 large, yellow school buses were stolen recently from various charter schools, business schools and private bus companies. Not one has disappeared from HISD.
Most, if not all, were taken from locations on Houston’s north side. One off west Tidwell, another from the Lopez bus company off Melrose and Berry Street.
Timothy Williams is the superintendent at the High School for Business.
“We were going to park them over there inside the gate. Until we could get a gate around the facility, but we really didn’t think that was going to be a problem,” said the charter school’s superintendent.
While it is important to point out that there is no known threat, HPD’s Criminal Intelligence Division mentioned in a recent e-mail that these school bus thefts are a homeland security concern.
One detective told 11 News a bus might have been stolen and taken across the border to Mexico.
Nevertheless, since the Sept. 11 attacks the thought of terrorists targeting children has certainly been discussed by the Department of Homeland Security. And that is why finding out what happened to these buses is very important.
Published reports in 2004 said that the U.S. Military found information in Iraq pertaining to U.S. schools.
Reportedly, there have been hundreds of thefts of school bus radios in the United States.
With all that being said, 11 News was reminded Monday by law enforcement officials that school buses remain one of the safest ways to get to and from school. In fact, nationwide, school buses transport nearly 24 million kids to school daily.
And bus drivers all around the country are being trained regularly to look out for suspicious people and activities.