TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — According to Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse, catalytic converter thefts have been happening up to five times a week in Vigo County. For one local organization that helps children in need, it’s happened twice in less than a month.

On Wednesday morning, officials with Chances and Services for Youth realized their catalytic converter had been stolen.

“There is a distinct sound a bus makes when you turn it on and that part isn’t there,” Brandon Halleck, Chief Operating Officer of CASY, said.

Just 43 days into the new year, this is the second time this incident has happened within the organization. With this bus being a major resource for CASY, this points to a bigger issue.

“We use this bus to transport kids in our before and after school care. It truly is a vital part of our operation. It’s not just the cost, it is very costly for us to replace this,” Halleck said. “It’s now the time and energy of staff having to maneuver company vehicles to try and transport children now.”

The combined cost of both incidents nearly totals $3,000.

“It’s frustrating that as we move along, that somebody not thinking about their actions. It’s not just the financial impact, but the hardships it creates it is extremely frustrating,” Halleck said.

Catalytic converters are a desirable target for thieves because the material within them can be resold at body shops.

Vigo County has seen a big increase in related crime, according to Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse. However, aside from just preventing the crimes, the department faces a bigger issue.

“The bad thing with theft cases right now are that they don’t stay here very long because of crowding situations and COVID situations,” Plasse said.

Arrests in previous thefts have been made, but Plasse recognizes the significance of this one.

“The money that they would use for kids and programming to help our kids in need is going to be used to make a repair on a bus.” Plasse said. “Whoever did this not only damaged the equipment, but they’re hurting our kids.”

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact local authorities.