MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – It has happened again: thieves stealing batteries from school buses in Miami-Dade.
This time, the target of the thieves is a school for 150 youngsters and adults with developmental disabilities that is run by Nuns. And the criminals were captured on surveillance tape.
Surveillance tape from the Marian Center School and Services Inc. at 15701 NW 37th Ave. that is right across the street from the Opa-Locka Airport shows a strange scene from 10:45 on Labor Day morning.
The thieves’ white, u-haul pickup truck is right behind a golf cart that is being driven by the school’s Executive Director, Sister Lucia Ceccotti. The school’s 91-year-old director is unaware that a robbery is in progress.
As she drives away, the pickup truck is seen heading back to the yellow school buses. After a few minutes, the criminals appear to be spooked and are seen leaving, taking six batteries from three buses with them.
Sister Ceccotti told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that they also stole one of the six batteries from a golf cart, disabling it. The golf carts are used to transport the students around the school and take nuns from building to building.
“I feel sad because they lack a respect for other people,” said Ceccotti. “It hurts me inside. People work very hard for the transportation of people and to see their work destroyed is not right.”
The same thieves may have also struck the school on Saturday, August 20th, stealing batteries from seven school buses. Ceccotti says the school was able to find alternative transportation for the students.
“They need respect and they need love and they need to be protected,” said Ceccotti of her students. “What happened here was not right.”
The school was forced to replace a total of 20 batteries from 10 buses and one battery from the golf cart. Ceccotti was not sure how much that cost the school that is on a tight budget.
“I forgive them,” she said, “but they will not enjoy the money.”
And she said to the public, “If they see something like these batteries, call the police.”
Sister Ceccotti says her school is working closely with the police.
She told D’Oench if anyone in the public would like to help her school, they should call (305) 200-8927.
It all happened on the same weekend when more than 90 batteries were stolen from 32 Miami-Dade school buses at the Central East Transportation Yard as 7011 S.W. 4th St. in Southwest Miami-Dade. That yard was locked up over the weekend.
Miami-Dade Schools Police have been circulating flyers in that case, asking for help from the public. They are also urging anyone with information to call Schools Police at (305) 995-COPS (2677).
Many of those buses were also used by students with special needs.
It’s not known if the crimes are connected. Police have no suspects at this point.