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Owner charged in improper title case after buses found in scrap yard

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Updated: April 12, 2013 6:26AM

The owner of a Southwest Side scrap yard where eight stolen yellow schools buses were found Friday has been arrested and charged in a separate case, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. The business remains the focus of an ongoing probe, a source said.

After a search of the business, Chicago Police found Sergio Quintero, 44, owner of Gonzalez Auto Parts and Dismantling in the 3400 block of South Lawndale, hiding in the ceiling of the scrap yard’s business office, according to police reports.

Authorities say no charges had been filed in the school bus thefts by Sunday.

Quintero appeared before a judge in Cook County bond court Sunday on a felony count of possession of improper title. Bond was set at $25,000 in the case. Authorities allege he bought a 1994 Nissan Altima in October for which the title had not been transferred properly.

Police reports noted that a search of the business “revealed numerous Illinois Certificate of Titles without complete assignment were located” in Quintero’s office.

“This was the scene to which 8 stolen school buses were taken . . .” the police reports states, noting “three of which were identified after they were dismantled by use of a grappling cane.”Three other people who were being held in connection with the case were released without being charged.

The theft of the yellow buses owned by Sunrise Transportation Inc. from a lot in the 10100 block of South Torrence was discovered about 5 a.m. Friday and reported to police. Through the use of an onboard GPS tracking system, all eight buses were located a short time later at the scrap yard in various states of disassembly.

Chicago Public Schools has a contract with the company, but no disruptions in service were reported Friday.

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