An investigation is underway into a school bus theft operation that spanned two states after authorities recently recovered several stolen school buses, leading to the arrest of a bus company owner.
Officials at Florida's Flagler County School District reported that two school buses were discovered missing from the transportation facility on Aug. 8 when employees were scheduled to do maintenance on the buses. School employees said one of the buses had been equipped with GPS, but they discovered that the tracking system was disabled on July 27.
“It appears these buses were stolen as part of an elaborate theft ring operating in northeast Florida and south Georgia,” Flagler County Sheriff James L. Manfre said.
During the weekend of Nov. 2, Flagler County investigators learned of the recovery of two school buses that had been stolen from Lowndes County (Ga.) Schools in October. Those buses were found at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., where a football game was being played. They were being used to shuttle fans to and from the game.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Alphoso Bernard Rock in connection to the recovery of the two stolen school buses at EverBank Field. Rock is the owner of 95 South Tours and Transportation. He has been charged by Jacksonville authorities with theft of a motor vehicle less than $100,000.
Following Rock's arrest, Flagler County investigators learned that the two buses stolen from Flagler County School District could be found in an area near an interstate in Gainesville, Fla.
Sheriff’s investigators contacted Gainesville authorities, who found the buses. Flagler County school officials have been notified of the recovery.
Other news on school bus thefts:
• Teen steals school bus after getting out of jail
• Auto yard owner indicted for bus thefts, scrapping