Batteries stolen from 18 Tempe school buses

Batteries stolen from 18 Tempe school buses

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

Thieves stole batteries from 18 school buses overnight from the bus lot in Tempe.

It was discovered about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday at the lot near University and Priest.

"I came out and trooped the third row, as we call it, immediately found 13 buses with the trays out and empty," said Paul Novak, director of safety and transportation for the Tempe Elementary School District.

Tempe Elementary School District spokeswoman Monica Allread says the thefts caused buses on 10 to 15 routes to run late Tuesday morning. 13 of the buses served special needs students.

"Between our special needs population and our regular ed population about a thousand kids potentially were impacted," added Novak.

A total of 34 batteries were stolen, and each battery weighs 60 to 100 pounds each.

By 7:30 a.m., all of the buses were back on the roads after getting replacement batteries put in. They ran on time for the afternoon.

"Those batteries are basically getting resold, sometimes they'll get whatever is valuable out of the battery whether that's lead, and it sounds like that's going anywhere from 15 to 25 cents a pound right now," said Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

Police believe whoever did this cut a hole in the fence and took their time lifting the batteries out. The good news? It was all caught on tape by surveillance cameras.

"Tempe Elementary School District is reviewing and adjusting security measures in and around the bus lot," said Allread.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tempe Police.

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