Catalytic converters ripped off 18 vans by heartless thieves in Akron

Nonprofit uses the vehicles to transport disabled adults

Nonprofit suspends some transportation services after thieves damage organization’s vans

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Thieves hit a local non-profit that helps adults with disabilities over the weekend.

Now, the organization is having trouble getting their participants to their activities.

This weekend thieves cut off more than a dozen costly catalytic converters from underneath transport vans at the Akron Campus of United Disability Services. It’s the second weekend in a row that this has happened.

More than a quarter of the organization’s 40-van fleet is out of service now, leaving some people without a way to get to their daily activities.

President and CEO Brian Thomas says last week thieves ripped off five catalytic converters from transport vans.

The organization got them fixed fairly quickly, but then the crooks came back-- this time taking even more than before.

They stole 13 catalytic converters.

Earlier this month, 19 News talked to Tim Kirk at One Stop Auto in Cleveland, about why someone would take a catalytic converter.

“The precious metal in it costs us the money,” he said. “It’s not the steal that’s around it, its the stuff that’s on the inside.”

Precious metals like platinum and even sometimes gold are on the inside and help control emissions.

A scrap yard will pay up to $200 for a car’s catalytic converter.

However, Thomas says the repairs on the UDS vans cost about $1,000 each.

“One of the things I found rather unsettling about it is that they are creating thousands and thousands of dollars in damage to get them something that will get them $150 to $200,” Thomas said.

He is convinced the suspects in this case don’t know or care who their hurting.

“Crime has no conscience,” Thomas said. “So the people obviously don’t really care about how its affecting others.”

Now, Thomas says UDS has beefed up security in the parking lot, hoping the thieves won’t come back again.

Thomas says there is surveillance video of the crime from a neighboring business.

He says police have it and are using it to try to catch the suspects.

If you have any information on who committed this crime, call Akron police.

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