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Bus garage hit by thieves again


Coulee Dam police Sgt. Paul Bowden takes charge of a baggie of suspected methamphetamines from bus manager Bill Kemble found near one of the buses from which gas was siphoned last weekend. George Davis, a mechanic at the bus garage explains to Bowden where the baggie was found. - Roger S. Lucas photo

Thieves hit the school district's bus operation again last weekend.

This time they siphoned gas from one bus and stole two batteries from the district's boom truck.

Bus officials stated early Tuesday that they called the Coulee Dam police department Monday after the thefts were discovered, but still hadn't seen an officer come to the bus area to investigate. Moments later, a police officer did show up to take a small baggie of crystals from bus personnel, suspected to be methamphetamines, and start an investigation of the theft.

The weekend thefts come on the heels of a similar loss of gas and tires, plus some parts, that was reported last week and occurred a few weeks ago.

Grand Coulee Dam School District board members became aware of the problem two weeks ago when Superintendent Paul Turner told the board that he was going to ask for funds to put up a chain-link security fence to protect the bus garage from further thefts.

Bus manager Bill Kemble said Tuesday that he had to schedule a backup bus to cover one of the routes Monday morning. "We found a bag of empty beer cans near the bus that was siphoned, " he added.

The thieves broke a locked cap off one of the buses, taking about 30 gallons of fuel.

Then they stole the two batteries off the district's boom truck.

There was no official estimate of the amount of the loss.

George Davis, a bus garage employee, said they found a plastic bag with methamphetamine crystals at the site.

"The thieves know that we don't have adequate police coverage here, so they come when there are no officers on duty," Davis said.

Bus officials stated that any security fence would have to secure buses and other vehicles that are parked outside.

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