HARRODSBURG — Over the last 11 days, an unknown suspect has taken Mercer County school buses for a joyride on at least three occasions and caused about $10,000 in damage to the buses, officials said.
On June 9, someone stole a bus from the district’s bus garage and apparently drove it around the parking lot, said Superintendent Dennis Davis. School officials immediately called Harrodsburg police and filed a report.
Last week, between Thursday evening and Friday morning, an unknown person entered the garage and took the same school bus, police said. This time, a strobe light was damaged.
A third incident happened between Friday night and Monday morning, according to police. This time, one or more suspects took two different school buses and drove each of them about 12 miles. The buses were damaged, and the tires marked with white paint.
Authorities believe the culprit drove the bus to the Mercer County Mobile Home Park over the weekend and crashed into the community’s mailbox on Clay Avenue.
School officials took a number of security measures after the first incident, but that did not stop any of the subsequent thefts, Davis said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
Davis said the school system has increased security measures with each bus theft, but the person or people responsible still keep finding ways to take the buses without being detected. The superintendent declined to elaborate on the type of security measures taken.
Davis, who has worked with Mercer County schools for 17 years, said he had never heard of a situation involving stolen school buses in the district. He said it will cost Mercer County about $10,000 to fix the damaged buses.