8 school buses stolen, turned into scrap

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Eight huge school buses- reduced to a two-story pile of scrap in a Chicago salvage yard.

They were taken from a transportation company on the Far South Side overnight Thursday. By Friday night, four people were in police custody, suspected of stealing and chopping the buses for scrap metal.

The thieves appear not to have noticed the GPS. Chicago police used it to track the 75-passenger buses’ every move after leaving Sunrise Transportation.

The police activity came as a big shock to scrap metal collectors like Alberto Estrella, who showed up at SRV Metal Scrapper in the 3400 block of South Lawndale late Friday hoping to sell some old steel.

“I’m surprised,” he said when he found the entrance blocked. “My friend told me about this place, that they’re open 24 hours.”

That they kept odd hours was not in dispute. SRV’s neighbors say they always found that suspicious.

Among the four arrested was the salvage company’s owner, who allegedly tried to evade police by hiding in the building’s rafters.

The buses, all relatively new, are worth an estimated $65,000 each. About $2,000 worth of scrap metal.