Williamson County, Ill. (KFVS) - Catalytic converter thefts are happening across the Heartland.
Some were stolen from the buses of a Marion, Ill. non-profit organization.
“All of our pre-planning was sort-of for nothing because all of a sudden we have two buses that we can’t use,” Jeff Ripperda said.
Jeff Ripperda is the president of Families for the Advancement of Catholic Education group. They have two buses to take students who live in southern Illinois to Notre Dame Catholic High school in Cape Girardeau.
Since the catalytic converters were stolen from their buses, it caused a transportation issue.
“Between sort of splitting duties between various parents and scrambling and just asking for people to volunteer their Monday away, basically, things worked out okay,” Ripperda said.
He said the parts were stolen Friday night from an office parking lot off of Halfway Road in Marion.
“Unfortunately, the surveillance video doesn’t really give a good chance to identify anybody,” Ripperda said.
The organization’s treasurer filed a police report Sunday evening when they noticed the damage and the Marion Police Department is working to find the suspects.
“It turns out apparently catalytic converters are a hot item right now,” Ripperda said.
He said these converters have pieces of valuable metal like platinum in them which people can sell as scrap metal.
Herrin Deputy Chief of Police Tad Thompson said the suspects are targeting larger vehicles.
“Areas that may have churches, things of that nature that use larger buses, those are apparently more valuable,” he said.
“We need the public’s help to help identify these issues and be able to do something about it,” Thompson said.
The most commonly-hit vehicles are SUVs and trucks, especially late-model Toyotas, because they sit higher off the ground.
The stolen converters are most often ending up in scrap yards to be sold for their metal parts or sold to individuals as replacement parts.