Police: Vandals strike more than a dozen buses

Police: Vandals strike more than a dozen buses

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Paragould Police Department and Paragould School District are investigating a vandalism case that damaged more than a dozen school buses over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Paragould School Superintendent Debbie Smith said the district learned Sunday that 13 buses were vandalized. The district was able to get children to and from school the following day by using inactive buses.

Smith told Region 8 News that a bus driver alerted a mechanic about the problems, which included damaged camera wiring and missing first aid kits.

"When we have a long break, the protocol is to start the buses the day before to make sure everything is in working order," said Smith. "By the time I got to the secondary campus, the police department already sent an officer and he was starting a police report on the damage that was done."

Some buses were damaged more than others. Smith said eight buses were sprayed with a fire extinguisher.

"That powder gets into every nook and cranny and if it gets into the electrical system up in the dash, it could cause extensive damage in the future that we may not even know about now," said Smith. "We had some camera wires pulled out from the panel inside the bus. The most extensive damage to one of our buses had approximately six side windows broken out, the back glass of the emergency exit was broken. The windshield and glass in the door is broken."

Most buses have been cleaned  and are running. Smith said the school had extra buses to cover Monday's routes.

Smith said it's not known how much it will cost to repair the damage and the district will look to install security cameras and motion lights near the bus area.

Paragould Police Detective James Williams said no suspects have been identified.

If you know anything about this case, call the Paragould Police Department at 870-236-5875.

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