Monday, January 09, 2006

Handicap-Accessible Buses Vandalized

Washington Post:

Six handicap-accessible buses that belong to the Rockville-based Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington were vandalized over the weekend, a center spokeswoman said today.

Vandals smashed the buses' windows with rocks, rendering them inoperable and stranding dozens of senior citizens who depend on them for transportation, said the spokeswoman, Jeanne Zepp. No one was in the buses at the time, she said.

Police said they could not immediately comment on the alleged vandalism, which occurred in the 4900 block of Wyaconda Road. Montgomery police last week said they were investigating three recent acts of vandalism that targeted Jewish sites as hate crimes that may have been committed by the same person.

Zepp said center officials have no evidence that the latest act of vandalism was a hate crime but she noted that the buses are marked on the outside as belonging to the Jewish center.

"It's very unsettling," she said. "We have hundreds of individuals who rely on us for transportation."

She said repairing the buses is going to be costly and time-consuming because handicap-accessible buses require special windows that might not be readily available.

The buses are primarily used to transport senior citizens from home to the Misler Adult Day Center in Rockville.