Police are looking for thieves who stole catalytic converters from 35 school buses that serve the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Nearly 200 students were affected by the major theft on Nov. 29, reported Fox 8 (WJW-TV).
According to Tom Ott, interim deputy chief of communications, thieves cut through a fence at the East 49th Street bus depot in Cuyahoga Heights and stole catalytic converters from the school buses.
Ott says the theft impacted service to about a dozen public and private schools.
Other buses were able to cover some of the routes, and parents were able to take their children to school.
Surveillance footage of the theft is being reviewed by authorities.
The thefts are part of a growing national trend as the value of stolen catalytic converters keeps increasing. Claims for stolen catalytic converters are up nearly 300% nationwide, according to a recent report from State Farm.
In the last 6 months of 2020, State Farm paid out slightly more than $12 million in claims for catalytic converter theft, but in the first 6 months of 2021, that number has grown to more than $21 million in paid claims.
A catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system required in US vehicles since 1975, it helps reduce the contaminants emitted by the exhaust. Because of the rare metals that are inside catalytic converters – including platinum, palladium or rhodium – this part can be worth several hundred to several thousand dollars. Some thieves go as far as removing these metals to sell them on the black market, according to the insurer.
Reprinted with permission from School Transportation News. Read the original post.