CLEVELAND, Texas - Local school districts are on high alert after several school buses have been targeted by thieves.
According to Cleveland ISD Police Chief Rex Evans, batteries were stolen from ten of their buses over the weekend. The thefts happened at the Cleveland ISD bus barn.
Each bus has two batteries on board.
Chief Evans said thieves also hit Livingston ISD, Shepherd ISD and Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD over the last several weeks.
According to officials, the suspects cut holes in the fenceline and climbed through to the school bus barn, where they stole 20 batteries.
Investigators said the thieves popped open the two side panels of ten buses, cut the wires connected to the batteries and took off.
"To replace it's $100 so it's a significant loss for us so what makes it even worse is all the school districts are being adversely affected. This is our tax dollars theses people are stealing and taking away from our children so if we can't adequately get our kids from the bus stop to the schools that's a significant use," said Chief Rex Evans of Cleveland ISD.
Evans said he spoke with his counterparts in the other school districts and the thieves are working the same way in each case. They watch the area before striking, which allows them to stay clear of surveillance cameras during the crimes. Investigators said the thieves were not caught on camera.
Chief Evans said they suspect the thieves are selling the batteries to recycling centers for $50 to $70 per battery.
Authorities are working with local recycling centers to find suspects.
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