RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local pastor said she is shocked and hurt after catalytic converters were stolen from church vans used to transport children.
This past weekend, police said four catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles on Chamberlayne Avenue and Dill Avenues.
8News spoke with the director of the Greater Brook Road Baptist Church Development Center Pastor Grace Tolliver whose ‘no trespassing’ signs didn’t stop thieves from stealing converters from two vans.
For the past 12 years, Pastor Tolliver has worked with children at the development center.
“I was really shocked and hurt because we couldn’t use the vans to pick up the kids that day,” Pastor Tolliver said.
Tolliver told 8News when she started the van Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. it sounded ‘like the van was getting ready to blow up.’
A mechanic stopped by and told Tolliver that someone had stolen the catalytic converters from both vans.
The thefts came with a hefty price tag, $1,500 to replace the converters.
“For someone to violate us like that, that just bothered me,” Pastor Tolliver said.
A mechanic at Dr. Auto told 8News catalytic converters can be stolen in a minute or less from a car.
“They have an electrical saw,” Vinny Conigliaro said. “I mean a portable one and all they do is come in and just go…zzzzzz and cut it and zzzz…and cut it.”
Each converter can be sold for up to $250 dollars since it contains platinum.
To prevent this from happening to you, police say to park their car in well-lit areas close to your residence or keep cars in a garage if possible.
“Have the VIN number of the vehicle sketched into the catalytic converter underneath,” Richmond Police said. “If it has an alarm, make it super sensitive.”
Pastor Tolliver said they will now be parking their vans in a secure location and add security cameras.
While the development center waits for new converters, Tolliver has a message for thieves.
“I think that they should turn themselves in and be remorseful that they would do that,” Pastor Tolliver said. “Because not only does it affect us but it affects children. A lot of these parents don’t have a way to get their children to daycare and so we help the mothers out.”
If you have any information on these thefts, call Richmond Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.