RENO, NV - Riding the bus is growing frightening for some passengers as vandals continually use pellet guns to shoot out the windows. It's been happening on RTC buses throughout Reno-Sparks for the last month. On Wednesday night alone, it happened to at least two different buses.
"People could get hurt. These could be your friends, they could be your neighbors. They are people just on their way home. They are people going to work," said Joe Harrington, spokesman for the Regional Transportation Commission.
In the last month 17 windows on 12 buses have been shot out by vandals with a BB or pellet gun.
"These instances seem to be escalating. Last night alone, with three windows broken out, this is a very concerning situation," said Harrington.
So far the vandalism has cost RTC an estimated $20,000. In addition, every time it happens, the bus has to be pulled out of service, which affects transportation reliability.
"There is not only an impact on our transportation system, but again, the safety is our major concern," said Harrington.
The trend is particularly concerning for RTC riders who use the buses as their only source of transportation.
"As we were driving off from the St. Vincent’s we heard (sound effect) do do do do do," said Chevonne Sumler, an RTC bus rider.
Sumler was on route 11 Tuesday night when one of the windows was shot out. She was sitting opposite the window, but her friends were right next to it.
"If the bullets would have come through, they would have gotten hit… for sure," said Sumler.
Fortunately no one has been injured in any of these incidents, but that could change at any time.
Secret Witness is offering a $1,500 reward for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the crime. You can call Secret Witness at 322-4900.