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Three questioned in theft, scrapping of 8 school buses

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Updated: April 10, 2013 6:09AM

Three people were being questioned Friday in the theft of eight school buses overnight after the vehicles were found dismantled at a West Side scrap yard.

The buses were taken overnight from Sunrise School Bus and Charter, 10017 S. Torrence, and discovered about 5 a.m. Friday, police said.

Onboard GPS tracking systems in buses helped authorities locate the vehicles a short time later at a scrap yard in the 3400 block of South Lawndale Avenue.

While the bus company is a Chicago Public Schools vendor, according to CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler, “There were no reported disruptions in student transportation” Friday.

Ziegler explained the company, like all bus companies that are CPS vendors, are required to keep spare buses on hand in case of emergency, and was able to cover their routes.

The stolen buses had already been taken apart, police said, and were damaged and in various states of disassembly when found in the scrap yard.

Gregory Bonnett, founder and president of Sunrise Transportation Inc., the company whose buses were stolen, said the buses are “equipment and we’ll replace it.”

He was at the scrap yard at 34th and Lawndale about 3 p.m. Friday, and had been there for about eight hours.

Bonnett said it would cost about $75,000 to replace each bus, except four that had wheelchair lifts and will probably cost about $85,000 apiece, he said.

“We’ll do whatever we need to do to take care of the kids,” Bonnett said.

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