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Local law enforcement sees rise in catalytic converter thefts

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Local law enforcement officials are reporting a rise in catalytic converter thefts.

A van for adults with disabilities in Port Charlotte is now out of service after its catalytic converter was stolen.

Quality Independence said someone sawed off the catalytic converter from one of their vans.

Taking away the group’s handicapped van is in essence taking away their independence. Those dependent on wheelchairs and walkers are now confined to the building instead of taking trips out to the park or pottery lessons.

“But right now the big thing is we’re unable to go out on outings because our bus part got stolen- the catalytic converter,” Tucker said, talking about the regular trips they would take outside of the classroom.

Under their van, it appears someone crawled underneath it and stole not only the catalytic converter, along with the ability for these folks to travel. 

“Because people with wheelchairs and walkers cannot access our van. It’s easier for them to get on and off the bus,” Tucker said.

The nonprofit does have a regular van, but it doesn’t work for many. Right now detectives are looking for the person responsible. Charlotte County reports 26 stolen converters just this year.

Until the part comes in, they’re stuck inside waiting and looking forward to their first trip together again.

The non-profit just got the van two months ago, after their old one broke down.

They are asking for donations to help them cover the cost of the new part.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook about the rise in catalytic converter thefts and gave residents tips on how to keep your car safe.

The sheriff’s office encourages drivers to park in well-lit areas. Drivers should also consider investing in an after-market device to protect your catalytic converter. Officials also said drivers should place markings on their converters.

The post Local law enforcement sees rise in catalytic converter thefts appeared first on NBC2 News.

NBC2 (WBBH-TV)

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