FULTON, Mo. (KMIZ)
Fulton Police are asking for public help in identifying the persons who stole catalytic converters from a Fulton-based non-profit.
SERVE, an organization known for helping people get to doctors' appointments, shopping trips and places of need, reported five catalytic converters stolen from its vehicles.
Carol Lewis, Transportation Lead with SERVE, said she received a call around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, saying five out of nine of the busses had their catalytic converter stolen.
Lewis said they are unable to make as many rides because of the thefts.
"It's not just a matter of we have to come up with money to fix these um this means that people wont get to their jobs on time... for a lot of these people we are there only mode of transportation. Where we prided ourselves on being able to help anybody we cant do that right now," Lewis said.
Lewis said as more catalytic convert shops have opened in Callaway County, the thefts have increased.
"I plead with the business owners of these facilities, these people are bringing our property to your businesses, you know please help us out," Lewis said.
Fulton detectives are following leads and continuing to investigate but are asking anyone with information to come forward.
The Fulton PD Facebook page had a message for the thief:
"We are asking the community to help us catch those who have stooped so low. To whoever did this, we will have a ride for you soon."
Fulton Police Chief, Bill Ladwig, said catalytic converter thefts are an ongoing issue almost everywhere.
"The catalytic converter market, there's a black market for those there's a there's an open market, and these converters are worth anywhere from a few $100 up into the $1000-$2,000 range," Ladwig said.
Converters are often made the metal Palladium, which some say is more expensive than gold.
Ladwig said often catalytic converters are stolen and sold for illicit reasons.
"So it's a lucrative quick hit for somebody that needs money, usually to you know, finance or other criminal activities, you know, normally drugs," Ladwig said.
Ladwig said it is possible but difficult to protect a catalytic converter.
"Some people are welding metal guards or pieces of rebar underneath their vehicle but you know it takes time to buy those materials and make modifications. Some people are spray painting them, etching them with a name or VIN number to a vehicle," Ladwig said.
Since catalytic converter thefts are so common in Missouri, lawmakers have proposed a bill that would address the thefts.
House Bill 1456 requires transactions of catalytic converters to contain the vehicle identification number for the vehicle the converter came from.
The bill has been given to the emerging issues committee, but a hearing has not been scheduled at this time.