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The 40-foot-long buses, capable of seating 75 people, were stolen sometime overnight from the bus company's yard in the 10000 block of South Torrence Avenue and were not discovered missing until this morning, police said.
The buses were all equipped with GPS tracking devices, and police were able to track "their entire movement" to the scrap yard on the West Side, police said.
Bonnett estimated his loss at a quarter of a million dollars. Four of the buses were equipped for special education students, including wheelchair lifts, he said. Four 2009 models, three were 2004 and one was a 2003.
As scrap, the buses would have been worth anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 each.
When officers arrived, several people who apparently worked in the scrap yard ran into a building, police said. Officers initially apprehended one person and later took two others into custody. The owner was arrested in the afternoon.