In the hopes of catching whomever has been attacking Google and Apple buses in Northern California, officers are reportedly serving themselves up as bait. According to ABC7 News, the California Highway Patrol has deployed a “decoy bus” to catch the perp (or perps) in action.
As of mid-January, CHP was aware of five incidents involving shuttles on Interstate Highway 280—four with Apple commuters and one with Google commuters, The San Francisco Examiner reported. The shuttle buses’ windows were apparently shot with a pellet gun while they were driving down the interstate. They were rerouted along Highway 101 in response to the shootings. ABC7 News reports that in the last 45 days, there have been 20 such attacks.
“Someone is shooting at Apple commute shuttles on 280,” an alleged Apple employee reportedly posted in a now deleted tweet, which included an image of a wrecked window. “Explains the spontaneously shattering window on the bus today :( stay safe, all.”
“They’ve damaged windows, they’ve dented the exterior of the vehicles,” CHP Golden Gate Division Commander Ernest Sanchez told ABC7 News, noting that police have a description of the believed attacker’s vehicle. Aside from the decoy shuttle bus, the agency also has unmarked cars investigating the stretch of highway between where the attacks occurred and Cupertino, where Apple is based.
Sanchez said CHP is asking law enforcement officers around the state—namely in the Bay Area—to ask the public if they’ve seen anything suspicious on the interstate where the shootings occurred. “So the message is clear,” Sanchez said, “if you’re shooter out there, it’s just a matter of time, we will catch you and prosecute you to the full extent of the law.”
It’s unclear what the motive behind these attacks are, but Silicon Valley’s private shuttles have been protested by the public for years, serving as an emblem of gentrification in the area. In fact, a city planner’s master’s thesis for UC Berkeley found that there may be a correlation between the existence of the shuttle buses and increasing rental prices in San Francisco.
“For a lot of people, the shuttles becomes a symbol of everything that’s going on,” San Francisco Board Supervisor David Campos told Wired in 2016. “To the extent we are not able to address the larger issue of displacement and gentrification a lot of the frustration, passion and anger turns towards the shuttles. It’s important to know that, but at the same time not let that get in the way of a resolution of the issues.”
We have reached out to the California Highway Patrol to confirm they are using decoy shuttles to lure in the shooter.