Valdosta Daily Times

March 22, 2014

Lowndes bus stolen, found

School system changing procedures

Adam Floyd
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA —  Lowndes County Schools has altered transportation procedures this week after two teenagers stole a bus parked at a middle school over the weekend.

Transportation Director Roger Christie reported the bus stolen Sunday afternoon. Apparently, the yellow 1992 model Blue Bird went missing sometime after 9 p.m. Friday when the bus was parked at Pine Grove Middle School on River Road.

The bus was recovered in Worth County after a Worth County Sheriff’s Deputy observed a stopped bus and questioned the two teenagers found inside. Available documents from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office do not provide an exact date and time for when the bus was found in Worth County. Calls to that county’s sheriff’s office were not returned before press time.

The two teens were able to drive away with the bus because the keys were hidden inside the vehicle, according to Christie.

“That has been standard procedure for the past 50 years, but that’s all changed,” said Christie. “Any bus left on campus will not have keys in them.”

Christie said his department is reviewing procedures to identify other areas where security can be increased.     

The bus was recovered by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office early Tuesday morning, and the two teens were placed under arrest.

Robert Thomas Montague, 17, and a 15-year-old male juvenile were charged with vehicle theft. Montague is currently in the Lowndes County Jail and listed as not bailable. The juvenile was booked into the Regional Youth Detention Center.

The incident is the second bus theft incident in the last six months for Lowndes County Schools.

In October, two brand new buses were stolen from the system’s bus yard on Howell Road.

The vehicles were recovered in November after being spotted shuttling fans to and from EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. during the Georgia/Florida football game.