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Man facing charges after stealing school bus, leading police on multi-county chase

Police say a man stole a school bus in Adams County before leading authorities on a multi-county pursuit that ended with him being arrested.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Police have arrested a man who allegedly stole a school bus in Adams County before leading authorities on a multi-county chase on Tuesday morning.

Tony Saunders, 24, no fixed address, is accused of stealing the bus in Abbottstown, Adams County on Monday night, police said Tuesday.

No children were on board the bus.

The stolen Lincoln Coach Lines bus had been reported to State Police in Gettysburg in the early morning hours on Tuesday and a "Be On The Lookout" had been sent out to law enforcement agencies in Adams and York County. 

A Carroll Township Police officer spotted the stolen bus shortly before 8 a.m. on Tuesday as it drove through the parking lot of GIANT Foods and Rite Aid on Route 15. 

Officers observed the lights on the bus were turning on and off intermittently. Saunders drove the bus out of the parking lot and got onto Route 15 North.

“Not only is it a felony because it’s a vehicle but the new part you add into it now, were there any children inside? Did the male stop to pick up any children?" said Chief Thomas Wargo of the Carroll Township Police Department. "None of that was known at the time."

The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop, according to police.

The bus eventually pulled over near the junction of the PA Turnpike but immediately pulled away and continued to drive north on Route 15, winding in and out of traffic.

Authorities said Saunders drove the bus off a roadway and down an embankment in Lower Allen Township, nearly overturning the vehicle.

"The cop was blocking both lanes and then when it opened up a little bit, I was filming and was able to see the bus going over the embankment there and hoping there were no kids in it," said Jodi Leininger, who witnessed the bus drive over the embankment as she was on her way to work.

The bus continued to drive onto Gettysburg Road in Lower Allen Township where it turned into a nearby neighborhood.

Saunders then fled on foot through a wooded area, leaving the bus behind.

Credit: Carroll Township Police
Tony Saunders

Pursuing officers found Saunders on a nearby railroad track and took him into custody, authorities said.

“No one was injured, no officers were injured, no one from the public was injured and the defendant in the case was not injured either," said Chief Wargo.

Police claim Saunders was completely nude at the time of his capture. Officers who searched the bus found the carcass of a deer in the back, according to police.

After being arrested, Saunders admitted to police he stole the bus earlier in the day, after crashing a BMW vehicle.

Saunders also said he had taken the vehicle and placed a deceased deer in the back. He told officers he was going to use the deer as fertilizer for his garden.

Carroll Township Police have charged Saunders with fleeing and eluding police, receiving stolen property and reckless driving.

He was transported to York County Central Booking for arraignment on those charges, according to police.

State Police are investigating the theft of the bus in Adams County.

Additional court documents state Saunders is facing other charges in Adams County for leading police on a separate chase after state troopers conducted a traffic stop on a black BMW SUV he was driving in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

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