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Question about bus puts transit authority on alert



Published: Wed, September 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A videotape of the bus parking lot was to be reviewed today.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Police are investigating after a man who claimed to be a bus driver for the YSU shuttle service showed up Tuesday evening at the Western Reserve Transit Authority asking to look at buses.

The man approached a mechanic, who told the man he knew nothing about the shuttle service and suggested he check with the dispatcher, the mechanic later told police. Instead, the man walked away and got into a late 1980s gray Chevrolet Celebrity, drove around the building without stopping to see the dispatcher and left the parking lot at 604 Mahoning Ave.

Transportation industry: Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, which involved hijacked airliners, those who deal with transportation have been on high alert. The FBI temporarily grounded crop-dusting planes, and roughly 20 people have been charged with fraudulently obtaining licenses to transport hazardous materials.

Patrolmen Tony Marzullo and Michael Cox joined the mechanic Tuesday in searching the parking lot and inspected a 2001 Ford bus parked in the southeast corner. The mechanic said the man had parked near this bus, which is unmarked and white.

A sergeant from YSU campus police then arrived and the officers interviewed the dispatcher, who said he hadn't seen the man. Most of the lot is videotaped by a surveillance camera, and the tape was expected to be viewed today.

Buses purchased: The YSU sergeant told city police that YSU has not started the hiring process for bus drivers and that YSU already has the three buses it purchased. The campus police officer said the new white bus in the WRTA lot is not YSU's.

The unmarked bus at WRTA does match the ones YSU bought, police learned.

The mechanic described the man as Middle Eastern, 6 foot 4 inches tall, 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes and clean-shaven. Police weren't given a clothing description or license plate number.

meade@vindy.com




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