UPDATE: School Officials Request Help from Parents After Ripley Bus Radio Thefts

By: Jennifer Rizzi; Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi; Brooks Jarosz Email

UPDATE: 12/06/12 @ 11:25p.m.

RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) --It's been two weeks since more than two dozen radios were stolen from Ripley school buses, and Jackson County school officials say they're taking extra precautions to make sure kids get home safely.

"It puts you on edge every evening, you just kind of [think,] what's going to happen this evening?'" assistant superintendent Dave Moore said.

Moore is in charge of transportation and said his job has been a lot harder since thieves ripped the radios out of the buses. The two-way Kenwood radios allowed bus drivers to communicate with law enforcement.

Now, officials are asking parents to do their part to ensure everything goes smoothly with their kids' transportation. They say elementary school parents need to wait for their kids at the bus stops or pick them up from school to avoid any mishaps.

"Usually if we have a parent who's not at a stop, we can radio the driver and let them know that they have to come to the stop and be there," Moore said. "But now, we have to wait until the buses come back from their runs to accomplish that."

WSAZ.com talked with parents of kids in Ripley Elementary about their reaction to the request.

"A think it's a wonderful policy," Lisa Colmer-Warner said. "We have a lot of kids who disappear and parents don't know, and I think they should be there to meet their children."

Natalie Archer diagreed. "A lot of us are single parents and we have busy schedules," I think as long as the child knows there is someone at the residence, meeting at the bus stop is a little bit extreme."

Officials say new radios have been ordered, and nine of them are expected to arrive sometime next week.

They're not sure when the others will come in, but they say they process was slowed because that type of radio is in high demand.

Police are still looking for the suspects who stole the original radios.

UPDATE: 11/25/12 @ 8:12 p.m.
RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Detectives are checking with the Federal Communications Commission in hopes of trying to track down nearly two dozen stolen two-way radios.

Several school buses in Ripley had their radios ripped off and still no arrests have been made.

Police say they are checking with pawn shops in hopes of tracking them down. They are also getting help from the FCC.

The Jackson County School district had just bought and installed these special two-way radios that allowed bus drivers to talk with law enforcement officers.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.



ORIGINAL STORY 11/23/12
RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police are looking for the thieves who stole two dozen radios from a fleet of school buses parked near Ripley High School.

Police say the thefts happened sometime between 2 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Friday. They believe the thieves climbed the fence around the secure bus lot and ripped the radios straight out of the vehicles.

The school district had just recently bought and installed the two-way radios, which allow bus drivers to communicate with law enforcement.

"I think it's sad," said Tara Green, who works at Outlet Connection across the street from the lot. "The Board of Education works hard with police to keep kids safe, and people are jeopardizing that."

Police say each of the radios operates on a special frequency. They plan on working with the FCC to identify those frequencies and track down the radios if anyone tries to use them.

The Police Department put new radios in their cruisers earlier this week. They say the school district bought the new bus radios in order to match those ones.

Anyone who may have information pertaining to the thefts is asked to contact the Ripley police.


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