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Bus owner accused of abandoning students in Disney trip turns himself in

Craig Carter mug

Craig Carter is wanted by police on charges of theft by deception. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 29, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 29, 2011

WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- Students in Richmond County were just a few weeks from graduating and were planning a trip to Disney World. The students paid $360 for the three-day trip and hired the private bus company Heavenly Journeys to take them there.

However, the bus never showed up.

Now, the Waynesboro Police Department say the man who promised the bus would get them there has turned himself in. They say Craig Carter stole $5,400 and is facing felony theft charges.

He could face up to 10 years in prison.

News 12 went to the parking lot at Heavenly Journeys' listed address. There were no buses; there was nothing but gravel.

Neighbors even say it's quiet at Carter's house.

"I don't know him at all," Lacy Lotspeich said. "It's like no activity there whatsoever. My and my mom walk around the block, and we never see them."

News 12 didn't see him at either business address, either. One of the addresses listed is actually a funeral home in Waynesboro, and the other is at 9th Street. That address doesn't even exist. There were nothing but picnic tables and a pavilion there. Neither place had buses.

"I figured [he had] an out-of-town job because you'd see the Greyhound at three in the morning," Lotspeich said.

There were none there Monday afternoon, though, and when high school seniors were supposed to go to Disney World, the buses didn't show up there, either.

"On the day of the trip, the transportation did not show," Lavaneicer Hillman said.

Carter's buses were supposed to take her kid on the trip. Now that he's wanted, she thinks this is a lesson for everybody.

"Teachable moment for parents, as well as the sponsor, as well as for the students," Hillman said. "You can't just trust everyone, and you need to do a thorough investigation with whoever you're doing business with."

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