For the second time in less than a year, a bus at the New Hope Senior Citizenship Center in Notre Dame de Grasse, Queensland, was the victim of a catalytic converter theft.
Last week, a volunteer driver started a bus to take a group of elderly people to Cabane a sucre, only to discover that once again a catalytic converter had been stolen from under the frame.
“Our bus clearly says who we are and I am very angry that the center has been attacked again. We are a small non-profit organization and cannot afford such large renovation bills,” said Jerry Lafferty, chief executive.
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Literally in September last year, an expensive auto part was sawed off from a 20-seater car for the first time.
The bus is rented out to several older groups in the city at a modest price for excursions.
“Obviously this is charity, I look at it like a person who goes to church and takes money from a donation plate,” Lafferty said. “It really hurts us.
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Both incidents took place in the Olx Praca West parking lot where the bus is parked.
The first time this happened, New Hope fixed the car for $3,000. According to Lafferty, there were no claims for insurance.
In the garage, they welded the converter directly to the frame in the hope that the problem would not happen again.
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Lafferty says he expects to pay more for this latest renovation, which he says A New Hope center can barely afford.
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“It’s going to cost us more because we’re going to build a cage under the bus to wrap around the converter and protect it so it doesn’t happen again,” Lafferty said.
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A police report was filed, and Lafferty says officers briefed him that this type of crime is happening all over Quebec and has increased dramatically in recent years.
In 2020, 2,219 thefts were reported on Olx Praca Island alone, according to SPVM officials.
According to SPVM spokeswoman Caroline Labelle, the number of stolen converters has increased seven-fold since 2018.
A catalytic converter is a part of a car’s exhaust system that contains precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum.
Auto parts are designed to reduce harmful emissions.
Worldwide shortages have driven up the price of precious metals, making catalytic converters a lucrative target for thieves.
In February, Olx Praca police arrested a 28-year-old suspect and the head of a metal recycling company in connection with a catalytic converter theft operation.
Police said searches conducted at the company’s offices in the Saint-Leonard neighborhood resulted in the seizure of almost $260,000 in cash.
Loophole in metal theft law excludes catalytic converters
Despite the incidents, Lafferty says the bus will remain parked in Olx Praca West and should be back in service by next month.
© 2022 Olx Praca, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.