ALBION — Central Noble Schools has its bus back.
It turned up about 40 minutes away in northwest Fort Wayne.
The missing bus, which was taken from the Central Noble bus lot in Albion sometime between last Friday and Monday morning this week, was located Thursday evening parked between two semis on Goshen Road in Fort Wayne, across from the Best Deal Auto Sales dealership.
Central Noble School Police Chief and Transportation Director David Worman said there as no obvious damage down to the bus, but he ordered an inspection by the Indiana State Police before allowing children to ride on it again.
School officials reported to the media on Thursday that someone had taken a full-size, 72-seat yellow school bus. It was bus No. 9.
The story was posted by KPC Media Group on social media and shared widely by members of the community, and that led to the recovery of the bus, according to Worman.
The story was shared nearly 900 times from the Albion New Era, News Sun and KPC News Facebook pages in less than 24 hours and reached more than 23,000 users on the social media site.
Officials have video from inside the bus, video that Worman said he will share with other law enforcement agencies.
According to the video’s time stamp, a single man entered the bus located outside the bus garage on S.R. 8 at approximately 1 a.m. Monday morning and drove off with the bus.
Video showed he took the bus straight to the Goshen Road lot, disembarked, and left.
The bus was located due to a tip from a local resident.
According to Worman, Central Noble dean of students Lydia Gard was at a sixth-grade volleyball match at Garrett Thursday evening when she was approached by a Central Noble parent of a volleyball player.
The parent told Gard he had seen a story on social media about the missing school bus and thought he knew where it might be. He worked on Goshen Road, he explained, and had seen a bus parked between two semis near his work place.
He had noticed the bus on Monday, but since it was parked between two semis, he didn’t get that good of a look at it. It wasn’t until he saw the social media story that he connected the two.
Following the volleyball match, the parent drove back to Fort Wayne and confirmed that it was the missing Central Noble Schools bus No. 9.
The parent called Worman, who notified Fort Wayne police so they could clear the bus. Worman and the school’s mechanic then went to the lot and picked up the bus.