Police across the province are finding themselves investigating a new kind of theft: Thieves targeting school buses.
“It’s a trend we’ve seen over the last year with regard to, what I would call, not your typical theft.”
It may not be typical, but it’s exactly what Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray was dealing with this fall.
In September, the Regina Public School Board reported $20,500 in losses, after thieves stole diesel filters off of school buses. 18 buses were vandalized.
Four diesel filters were stolen just days later near Saskatoon. The Prairie Spirit School Division reported a loss of over $49,000.
“We know that they have a value, that they are an expense,” explained Bray. “Sometimes they are not an obvious thing for people to protect, maybe that’s what makes it appealing to the criminal element in our city.”
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The filters, used to remove soot from the engine, contain platinum, and rhodium; precious metals which give them their value when recycled.
Since the theft, Regina Public Schools haven’t had any further issues, something they credit to increased security measures.
“We’re always re-evaluating our security measures with all things,” noted Terry Lazarou, the Regina Public School communications supervisor.
The thefts don’t affect the Regina Catholic School Division.
Their buses run on propane, and don’t require the same fuel filter.
Police say the thefts are far from common, but recommend people who own large diesel vehicles, particularly farming equipment, take precautions with where they park, and how they store their vehicles.