Police arrested three people at SRV Metal Scrapper after following a GPS trail and finding the stolen buses, which had already been cut to pieces and piled into a two-story heap of scrap, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The 40-foot long buses -- weighing about 17,000 to 20,000 pounds each -- were stolen sometime after 7 p.m. CST Thursday from a yard operated by Sunrise Transportation Inc., which has about 260 buses. The theft was not noticed until workers arrived for work at about 5 a.m. Friday.
All eight of the buses were equipped with Global Positioning System tracking devices, so police were able to track them to the scrap yard -- where they said several people ducked into a building when officers arrived.
"There was a pile of shredded school buses about two-stories high," a police official said.
Sunrise President and co-owner Greg Bonnett said when he learned investigators had tracked the whereabouts of the buses, he "expected to come in and see our buses, not a mound of scrap."
"In 40 years I have never heard of anything like this," he said.
Sunrise had enough buses to handle Friday morning's school bus schedule.