Second city bus stolen from Tempe Transit Center in one month - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Second city bus stolen from Tempe Transit Center in one month

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Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 10:45 am

In just a month, two buses in Tempe have been stolen right down the street from police headquarters.

The latest happened Thursday afternoon.

Tempe police say it happened fast.

A suspect stole a bus that was running from the transit center.

No one was on the bus at the time.

Police say they tracked down the suspect and the bus pretty quickly.

Now Valley Metro says it plans to tighten security measures.

They are training their bus drivers to disable the buses if they get off of them, so it doesn't happen again.

They are also increasing security at the transit center near Mill Avenue.

Bus rider Trina Hanchin says something needs to change.

"They need to bring up their security. I guess they need to do something," she said.

Valley Metro says drivers leave buses running sometimes at the station for passengers' convenience. Especially when the weather begins to get unbearably hot.

"We need to keep people safe and comfortable, especially if they are sitting on a bus waiting on a layover for the bus to depart," said Susan Tierney with Valley Metro.

Tierney says when the first bus was stolen they started teaching drivers how to disable the buses.

"So there will be no way for a passenger or anyone passing by to actually get behind the wheel and operate the bus," Tierney said.

Some bus riders think Valley Metro should take tougher measures.

"I think they should lock the windows and doors so no passengers can get on the bus," Beth Rego said.

Valley Metro wouldn't go into specifics on exactly how the disabling system works.

But they expect to have all drivers trained on it in about a week.

As for the man who stole the bus last month, James Martin actually spoke to ABC15 from jail.

He says he was trying to get out of Arizona and back home to Oklahoma.

He admitted to being under the influence of meth when he stole the bus.

He's still in jail, awaiting trial.

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