BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Thieves are after catalytic converters, but this time they are targeting a local charity.
One of the services Koinonia provides for people with developmental disabilities is transportation. People depend on the nonprofit to go to their medical appointments and work, but for the 20th time one of their vans had its catalytic converter stolen, but this time the crime was caught on the company’s surveillance cameras.
“We were just getting hit again and again last year and I mean talk about getting kicked when you’re down,” said Cheryl Senko, Director of Development and Communications for Koinonia. The nonprofit partners with people with developmental disabilities.
The charity runs over 70 residential group homes, provide adult day services, transportation and help people find jobs.
“We’ve tried everything under the sun to try to stop it from happening from locked gates to security cameras to working with the police and we thought that we finally had the right security system and then last Friday on the 9th we discovered that one of our KE vehicles that we use for employment transportation had a catalytic converter stolen,” explained Senko.
The thefts have cost the agency over $20,000 in insurance deductibles.
“In a time when we’re already struggling because of COVID and have so many huge expenses and loss of revenue because of the pandemic,” Senko said.
The nonprofit has been forced to cancel programs more than once because they didn’t have enough vehicles to pick up people in need.
“We count on those vehicles to bring people out into the community to help them get to jobs, to help them explore jobs and other options in the community and we had to cut that back on a couple of days, you know because you go into work in the morning and the cars not working,” Senko explained.
Senko had a message for the thieves.
“Think about who you’re stealing from,” she said. “We’re not just a faceless nameless organization with pockets and you’re not just hitting an insurance company you’re really hurting people with developmental disabilities.”
The nonprofit needs your help. If you recognize the men in the video or the car that they are driving contact Brooklyn Heights Police at 216-741-2700.