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Missing Tour Bus Found

December 25, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A missing tour bus carrying the luggage, money and passports of 23 Swiss and German tourists turned up early today, about 9 1/2 hours after the driver failed to pick up the group after a movie studio tour.

″It appears that nothing had been taken, but each tourist will be advised to check their own personal belongings to make sure,″ sheriff’s Deputy Bill Wehner said.

The European travelers were dropped off at the Universal Studios Tour at 2 p.m. Thursday and were to be picked up at 6 p.m., he said. But the bus never returned.

Las Vegas Tours of Lawndale, which organized the trip, provided the visitors with clothing and lodging at a downtown hotel Thursday night, sheriff’s Deputy Richard Dinsmoor said.

On board the bus had been the tourists’ luggage, containing passports and money, Dinsmoor said.

Dinsmoor said he didn’t know the value of the visitors’ possessions and how much cash they had carried. One man said in a television interview Thursday night that he had $3,000.

The bus was found parked along a street in downtown Los Angeles at 3:30 a.m., Wehner said.

The bus was found after the driver’s mother, Alberta Ballard, called the owner of Las Vegas Tours to say ″an anonymous tipster″ had called her, Wehner said.

The driver, Deborah Bowens, also known as Deborah Ballard, 40, of Inglewood, hasn’t been seen, he said.

Tour operator Victoria Patterson said she couldn’t explain the disappearance of the bus and driver.