The Enquirer reports that Mason schools were forced to close today because last night, someone snuck into the bus garage and unplugged the school buses. The diesel-fueled engines use engine block heaters overnight to keep the engines warm enough to start in the morning.
When the culprits are caught, there's no doubt we'll be treated to a chorus of hand-wringing by school officials (and, perhaps, the Warren County Prosecutor) over what a terrible offense was committed. I can't help thinking, though, about how clever it is.
The Enquirer refers to the act as one of "vandalism." While that may be true in a colloquial sense, I'm not sure that what happened could be prosecuted as vandalism. That crime requires a showing of physical harm to property. Assuming the engines weren't damaged (and I think they weren't--they should be fine once they warm up again), there's no physical harm.
Of course, the miscreants committed a trespass (a fourth degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to thirty days in jail). Perhaps unauthorized use of property (also a fourth degree misdemeanor) or criminal mischief (a third degree misdemeanor, which carries up to sixty days) would fit the circumstances. But there don't seem to be any other, more serious charges available.
When I heard what happened, I immediately thought of the scene in Bull Durham when Kevin Costner's character turns on the sprinklers at a ballpark overnight to force a rainout. While we can't condone the conduct of the kids that pulled the plugs, we can admire their ingenuity.
UPDATE: The Enquirer now reports "Mason school officials here [sic] say they suspect students were behind" the unplugging of the engine block heaters. My response: Wow....that's a stunningly brilliant piece of detective work. Kids: Lawyer up, quick!!!