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Catalytic converters stolen off Barbara Olson Center of Hope buses

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Barbara Olson Center of Hope says, over the past two weekends, eight of its buses and vans were stripped of their catalytic converters. The vehicles were on the center’s property at the time.

“I don’t think that it’s ever happened before, so it’s just very disturbing that it happened,” says the non-profit’s executive director, Pam Carey. “It’s a pretty big crime. They have more than 1 catalytic convertor, some of them have two or even 4 on the vehicles. So we’re talking well over $20,000 that was basically in damage to the vehicles.”

The suspects snatched catalytic convertors, rendering the buses and vans useless. This puts the non-profit in a bind, and not just from a monetary standpoint.

“It’s a big strain on the transportation that we have,” adds Carey. “So maybe they’re not getting to services on time because we’re having to go out pick them up and then go back.”

Catalytic convertor thefts escalated during the pandemic, as the value of the precious metals that can be extracted from them skyrocketed. Data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows a 325% increase between 2019 and 2020. As for the future, Carey says community members can help by keeping their eyes open and holding each other accountable.

“We all need to do our parts in these types of crimes I think. I never thought that it would happen to a non-profit. So again I think everyone just needs to be aware and help everybody out,” she says.

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