Pope County School District’s Bus 7 is back at the garage, after being stolen sometime before sunrise Monday from the home of its driver, and as of Tuesday afternoon, authorities still were looking for the suspect in the theft.

Pope County Sheriff Jerry Suits said the missing bus was reported just before 6 a.m. Monday, and he “did a statewide dispatch” asking law enforcement officers to keep an eye out for No. 7.

“About 8 a.m. Monday, I got a call from Illinois State Police. A trooper saw the bus at Exit 7 off Interstate 24 in Johnson County. It was out of gas,” Suits said. The bus apparently had been driven several hundred miles before it was abandoned at the interstate exit.

“I responded and asked the state police crime investigators to check the bus for evidence.”

Shortly afterward, he said, he obtained a warrant for the arrest of Delbert E. Sisco, 42, of Golconda, who is charged with theft and possession of a stolen vehicle. Suits declined to say what specific evidence led to singling Sisco out as a suspect.

“His family has been notified, and they hope they can locate him to convince him to turn himself in,” Suits said.

Anyone who sees Sisco or has information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Pope County Sheriff’s Department at 618-683-4321 or their local law enforcement authorities.

Suits said the Pope County School District has one spare bus that was used to transport students. Bus 7 will be checked out to make sure it wasn’t damaged during its unscheduled run, he said.

School district officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

618-351-5079

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