SIDNEY — The Council of Religious Education’s (CORE) bus has been vandalized for a second time, and they want the perpetrator caught.
CORE is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1921, that provides ethics education to Sidney’s second- and third-graders whose parents choose to have them participate in the training. The classes take place on the bus, which travels to Sidney City Schools for the 30-minute sessions each day.
The first incident happened sometime between July 26 and July 30, when someone spray-painted “LEATHEL” in large black letters across five windows along the side of the bus. The spray paint damaged bus windows that had been painted with pictures of children, animals, families and Jesus.
This time, during the night of Oct. 7, the bus was again painted “LEATHEL” but also with the phrase “F*@! da police” in large black and grey letters.
“It’s the same person; same place,” CORE President Scott Dorsey said about the second vandalism.
Dorsey said the bus was parked in an alley near Emerson Elementary School, during the summer, but it will no longer be kept at this location. He believes there was probably only one person involved in this incident because the location of the spray-painting was lower on the bus than the first time.
“I don’t think it’s aimed at us — because of the bus — but, because it’s a flat surface; a big blank canvas they can use,” said Dorsey of his belief the vandal is a “kid.”
“I’m sure it’s kids because the paint color changes with whatever colors they can get their hands on. This is just kids,” Dorsey said. “And they still can’t spell.”
He said the damage cost $1,000 for the first repainting and now it will cost another $1,000. He said insurance covered the first re-paint job, but he is uncertain about coverage for this incident since he has not heard back from their insurance company yet.
Dorsey said CORE recently worked an all-day fundraiser and barely raised $1,000, and expressed extreme disappointment that the money may have to go toward re-painting their bus.
“Every time they do this it costs another $1,000, ” Dorsey said.
“They’ve been able to get away with it … I don’t want to put a black-eye on the police department. If there is anything we can do to help apprehend these people, like with cameras. We don’t want to do anything without the police,” said Dorsey of his desire to stop the likely young vandals before they turn 18 and suffer more serious consequences.
“We wouldn’t allow these things to happen … To solve cases like this, it is critical for citizens to call-in and provide us with information as to who might be involved,” said Police Capt. Jerry Tangeman. “All we can do publicly is put something out there (such as this article) to generate leads.
At the end of August, the Sidney Police Department and Sidney-Shelby County Crime Stoppers reached out to the public for assistance on the case, and it resulted in no leads or information brought forth.
Tangeman is asking for anyone with information about the suspect or suspects involved is asked to contact the Sidney Police Department at 937-498-2351 or Crime Stoppers at 937-498-TIPS. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Callers will remain anonymous.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.