NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – A bus company that serves people with special needs in Pasco County is asking for help from the public tonight after several of their buses were vandalized over the weekend.
Someone stole the catalytic converters out of three buses that belong to Buddy Bus. The owner says it will cost nearly $2,000 for each bus to be fixed.
A driver for Buddy Bus, Theresa DeBerry, was heartbroken Monday morning before her route.
“Those are my babies. They don’t understand what’s going on, why this bus is so loud, they don’t understand,” said DeBerry.
The thieves responsible are not only cruel but bold as the buses are kept in a church parking lot for safety, so whoever did this came to the Faith Lutheran Church in New Port Richey and committed this crime in the church parking lot.
“They ride with us for years and years. We’re honored to see them Monday through Friday they’re the same faces. They’re used to riding the bus without that loud booming noise coming from it,” Owner Jaime Viera said.
What’s even worse, he says, is that they’ll have to wait at least two weeks since no one can fix the buses immediately.
Bus driver, Charlene Santos, had tears in her eyes.
“This is like my family. I am upset. I am sad and upset,” she explained. “But, I’m going to make the best out of it.”
Catalytic converters are not cheap, and they’re not easy to access either since they’re located underneath the bus between the muffler and the engine.
The auto part is considered a crucial part of the exhaust system.
“Whoever did this will have to answer to his maker. They’re going to gain a few hundred dollars from it. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost us thousands to get it replaced,” Viera said.
If you know anything about this case, please call the New Port Richey Police Department immediately.