(WKBN) – Kathy Phillips has businesses in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. Just this month, she has had six catalytic converters stolen between both locations. The most recent theft was from vans used to transport people with developmental disabilities.
“One of the drivers started and it was extremely loud. His first words out of his mouth were, ‘Oh no, not again,'” Phillips said.
Phillips is the CEO and owner of Turning Point Residential and No Limits Alternative Center.
Unfortunately, the catalytic converters from five of their vans were stolen over the weekend and according to Phillips, it’s going to cost between $1,300 and $1,500 to replace each one.
“We can’t just hop into any vehicle, sometimes we have individuals that are in wheelchairs or need special transportation because they can’t step up into a regular vehicle or van or it causes delays in picking them up,” Phillips said.
Boardman Police Chief Todd Werth said it’s easier for people to steal catalytic converters because they can get portable power saws. He also said that these crimes come in waves and that they either end in an arrest or the person or persons leave town.
“At our Warren location in Trumbull County, we’ve had one vehicle hit twice and another vehicle hit once. So we’ve had three total stolen — the two times there and we’ve had a total of nine stolen here,” Phillips said.
Michael Romeo owns a local surveillance company called Tactical Protection & Surveillance. He said he has seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the last three to four months.
“We’ve been successful on three of the five clients that actually, I wouldn’t say netted arrests — one or two have netted arrests — but we’ve also been very successful with curbing the fact that they even get onto the property,” Romeo said.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, which might be leading people to steal catalytic converters and sell them, but it’s also hard on those who have to replace them after they’re stolen.
“It’s just very sad that as a society these types of things have to happen,” Phillips said.
Phillips also mentioned that the people coming to her facilities are just trying to get out of their homes and enjoy their day and this is just another obstacle they have to overcome to do that.