Classes and activities were canceled in Poland-based Regional School Unit 16 on Wednesday after the district’s entire bus fleet was vandalized.

The tires were slashed on all of the district’s buses. The “severe vandalism” to the fleet of 22 buses and one pickup truck was discovered early Wednesday, law enforcement officials said in a statement.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department said the damage is estimated at more than $12,000.

“At this point it appears to be limited to slashed tires,” according to a post on the school department’s Facebook page. “We have called in an order for the tires and our mechanics will be working hard today to have the buses repaired and ready for school tomorrow.”

A school security video of the vandals from just after midnight shows two people running around the buses, but does not show their faces.

Sheriff’s officials said the suspects are two white males who covered their faces with their shirts to avoid identification. They slashed the tires on the vehicles parked at the school administration office at the intersection of Aggregate Road and Route 26 in Poland.

The video also shows one of the men opening the driver’s side door of a bus and getting in, emerging just moments later.

Bus mechanics Rob Sawyer, left, and his son Tyler Sawyer change the front two tires on school bus No.13 at the Regional School Unit 16 bus garage in Poland on Thursday.

School officials said the damage appeared to be limited to the tires and that they are hoping information from the security system will provide evidence that will lead to an arrest.

“I can not give specific information about our security system, but we do have security and we are hoping that system will provide evidence that will lead to an arrest,” the school’s Facebook page said.

Craig Worth, director of operations at the school district said Wednesday afternoon that two crews were busy replacing the slashed tires with new ones. He expected all of the damaged buses to be back on the road Thursday in time for student pickup.

“I think with these two tire crews we’re going to be in good shape for tomorrow morning,” Worth said.

Mechanics also were checking the fleet of buses for any other damages, he said.

Tires on at least 19 of the traditional long buses had been slashed, Worth said. Two of the so-called mini buses also had been damaged, plus a four-wheel-drive pickup truck, he said.

The damage was discovered Wednesday morning when bus drivers began their routine pre-trip inspections before 6 a.m., Worth said.

The entire fleet of 21 school buses at the Regional School Unit 16 bus yard in Poland was vandalized.

“This inspection was pretty short because it was pretty obvious the tires were impacted,” he said.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson said Wednesday his deputies were investigating the vandalism.

All extracurricular activities for Wednesday, including a spring concert at Poland Community School, were canceled.

The district likely will have to make up the missed day, but school officials plan to work with the state to see if a waiver is an option.

RSU 16 serves 1,744 students from Poland, Mechanic Falls and Minot.

Officials also are investigating a criminal mischief case that was reported at a vacant home on Rosewood Drive, near the RSU 16 office, as well as a report of a stolen vehicle on Lower Road in Minot near the Poland/Minot town line. The vehicle was later recovered on Hardscrabble Road in Poland.

It’s not clear if the three incidents are connected.

Anyone who may have information or seen something suspicious is asked to contact Sgt. Rielly Bryant or Deputy Jon Guay at the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office at 753-2599.

Material from the Sun Journal was used in this report.

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