Bond was set Sunday at $25,000 for a scrap yard owner charged after the theft of eight yellow school buses overnight Thursday on the Far South Side, then taken to a West Side scrap yard and disassembled.
Sergio Quintero, 44, of the 2500 block of South Drake Avenue, was charged with a felony count of possession of title/ registration without assignment, according to police News Affairs. Three other people were released without being charged.
The theft of the yellow buses from a lot in the 10100 block of South Torrence Avenue 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 a scrap yard in the 3400 block of South Lawndale Avenue. The eight yellow buses stolen were four 2009 Freightliner, three 2004 Freightliner and one 2003 Freightliner.
While the bus company is a CPS vendor, according to CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler, “There were no reported disruptions in student transportation” Friday morning and CPS expected no problems Friday afternoon.
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 this morning.
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.
Quintero, the owner of Gonzalez Auto Parts & Dismantling, was found hiding in the ceiling rafters of the scrap yard office at 3405 S. Lawndale Ave., police said. The license plates of the school buses were also found at the school 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 to replace, he said.
“We’ll do whatever we need to do to take care of the kids,” Bonnett said.
-- Sun-Times Media Wire and SouthtownStar