LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — An increase in catalytic converter thefts this year in Virginia is causing more inconveniences. A Lynchburg non-profit actually had to cancel some big weekend plans after their van’s catalytic converter was stolen.
Catalytic converter thieves continue to target parking lots and cars with high ground clearance. This weekend, such thefts also took an educational experience away from a group of young boys in Lynchburg.
“We were going to go shopping, go hang out at the beach, go swimming, and play some basketball,” said 16-year-old Jacob Jarvis.
Jarvis and 11 other teenage boys were scheduled to take a college tour with the non-profit, Jubilee Family Development Center, on Saturday, June 26.
“I’m kind of mad that they stole from a good community. It’s a good program that we do every day,” added Jarvis.
The trip to the University of Virginia would have been followed by a tour of a handful of other universities.
“It was supposed to be UVA and a couple of other colleges that the older kids were going to experience, but without the van, there was no way to transport them,” said Program Director Antonio Davis.
On Friday, June 25, Davis turned the van’s ignition and heard a loud noise.
“I thought it was something that separated, a manifold gasket or either the muffler had separated. But after inspection, we saw the cut marks where the catalytic converter goes,” explained Davis.
The catalytic converter will cost the non-profit approximately $1,200 to replace.
“We do food, we do vocational skills, we do a lot for the community,” Davis said, “and to just have somebody come over and just steal, it boggles the mind.”
“We have a good program, we work for our stuff. We don’t have to go out and steal. We just work for our stuff,” said Jarvis.
Davis says while it’s unfortunate, they’re working to reschedule the college tour soon.
Police are warning residents to be aware of suspicious activity, especially during the night. They ask that you contact the Lynchburg Police Department to report any signs of theft.
Authorities say signs of a catalytic converter theft can include a person appearing to be working on a vehicle, sounds of a saw or grinder, or a person sliding under a vehicle to cut something and quickly leaving the scene.