Two charities targeted for catalytic converters

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Just weeks ago, thieves stole five catalytic converters from vehicles from the Arc of Sedgwick County. 

When the vehicles were damaged, a camping trip almost didn't happen.

"They were getting ready to go on a camping trip. They were going out to El Dorado Lake and stuff, and some of them had never been on a camping trip before," says the Executive Director of the Arc, Kevin Fish.

Just down the street, another nonprofit was targeted.

"It's frustrating to hear our friends over at Starkey dealing with the same thing," says Fish.

"Some time around two in the morning, six of our buses were targeted," says Colin McKenney, the CEO of Starkey.

Early Monday morning, police believe two men stole six batteries and one catalytic converter from the vans at Starkey, a business that helps people with intellectual and physical disabilities. McKenney says Starkey serves around 500 people, all dependent on these vans to get them around.

"What the heck is wrong with people?" 

Wichita police is seeing a huge spike in stolen catalytic converters. So far this year, around 88 have been stolen, compared to just 8 by this time last year. Unfortunately, they're just too easy to steal. 

"They're not jacking them up or anything, they're just rolling underneath them, cutting out the catalytic converter, and leaving with it. So we're talking about pick ups, vans, work trucks, box trucks," says Wichita police Sergeant, Trevor McDonald.

"This is not okay. Taking down half of our fleet for a day so you can make maybe 100 dollars in scrap parts, that is not acceptable," says McKenney.

If you have any information on the crimes, call Crimestoppers at 267-2111.