Denison police looking for church bus burglars

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII)- Johnnie Smith was getting ready to pick up kids for vacation bible school in a Parkside Baptist Church bus Monday morning, but when he turned the key, he said the bus made a rather unusual sound.

"When I started it up, it sounded like a tank," said Smith.

Smith said he still used that bus to pick up the kids, and thought that bus was the only one with a problem, so he used a different one later that day.

Little did he know...

"When we left to take them home, that bus did the same thing, so I was pretty sure something was up," said Smith.

In total, catalytic converters were stolen from three of Parkside Baptist Church four buses.

Denison police say it happened around three Monday morning. Surveillance shows the suspects driving a 2008-2012 Jeep Liberty.

A representative from the church says it cost them at least $1,500 to replace the catalytic converters, which they needed to fix quickly.

"We have kids going on mission trips and all kinds of activities will be going on this summer and all of them will be used and will be needed," said Smith.

Catalytic converters are used to reduce emissions, but the buses can still run without them.

They're made from a platinum-like metal, and according to a local salvage shop, they can be sold for up to $600.

Police say this is still an ongoing investigation, but Smith says they want this case solved soon.

"I think any time anybody gets robbed or anything like that, you have a vulnerable feeling for a while. It effects you in that way as well," said Smith.

All three catalytic converters were replaced by Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Mike Eppler said if you have any information on who might have taken these parts, you can call Denison police at (903) 465-2422.