Images sent to Mashable by an “internal source” show buses with shattered windows, caused by what some Apple employees believe were rubber bullets. Others think someone assaulted the bus with rocks or a BB gun, though the exact weapon is still unknown. Anything thrown or shot at a bus with enough force to break its windows is a safety concern that puts passengers at risk of serious injury. Significant damage was done to at least five Apple buses, all off Highway 280 near Woodside, California, TechCrunch reports. The attacks happened on Jan. 12 and Jan. 16.
Mashable obtained an internal email at Apple explaining that several buses would be rerouted for employee safety reasons, adding significant time to the workers’ commutes.
Subject: Coaches temporarily being rerouted
Due to recent incidents of broken windows along the commute route, specifically on highway 280, we’re re-routing coaches for the time being. This change in routes could mean an additional 30-45 minutes of commute time in each direction for some riders.
As always, the safety of our employees is our first priority. We’re working closely with law enforcement to investigate these incidents and we’ll notify you as soon as the coaches are able to return to the regular route. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Apple Commute Team
Apple reported the incidents to the police with the description of a suspect. Per Mashable, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel confirmed his agency is investigating several reports of “unknown objects” breaking bus windows.
At least one charter shuttle carrying Google employees to its Mountain View HQ was also targeted. It’s unclear if the attack, which broke a window on the bus, was carried out by the same perpetrator.
“[We’re] taking the precaution of re-routing shuttles as we hear of any incidents,” Google wrote an in an internal email, according to Mashable.
The motive of these attacks is still unclear, but this isn’t the first time buses used by Silicon Valley giants have been vandalized. Four years ago, Google buses were attacked in protests against gentrification and increasing living costs amplified by the presence of tech companies.
Interestingly, the buses involved in this latest incident don’t include branding indicating they come from a major tech corporation. However, they could be identified by their unique colors: Google’s are white, Apple’s are silver, and Facebook’s are blue. No one was injured in any of the attacks.
We have reached out to Apple and Google and will update this article if we hear back.