KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UPDATE: The owners of the stolen school bus are pleading that whoever took it from their driveway to please return it.
Ron and Donna McConkey have owned the school bus for 26 years, using it to transport special needs students to and from school every day.
They say they never thought that someone would steal it from them, especially since it is parked in their driveway every night. They say they have always left the keys in the bus when it's at home.
"In 26 years we've never had any trouble with anybody getting on the bus. Ever." Donna McConkey said.
The McConkey's are contracted by the school system, so if the stolen bus isn't returned, it's up to them to replace the one that was stolen.
The couple was planning to retire in a few years, but are now thinking they may have to reconsider that, since driving the bus is their only source of income.
A new bus would cost the McConkey's nearly $40,000.
"And the nearest one that's for sale is in Kansas," McConkey said.
Even though the McConkey's have insurance on the bus, nothing can be done with that for two weeks, and by that time school will be back in session.
And if school is in and the McConkey's don't have a bus, they start losing money. They are hoping that whoever stole the bus would simply return it, and that there would be no damage to it so life can go on.
"I don't suppose that the people who took it had any inkling what it means to transport special needs children. But they really are special," McConkey said through teary eyes.
Knoxville Police are searching for a stolen Knox County school bus.
Bus #313 was reported stolen from 3204 Washington Pike Monday morning. It's a mini-school bus with a yellow and white top.
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