Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled faces series of thefts of catalytic converters in their vehicles
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled faces a spate of catalytic converter thefts after six of their vehicles they use to recover customers were hit in less than two months.
The organization that has helped so many people living with cognitive and developmental disabilities over the past decades says thieves continue to break into their fenced parking lot.
Six vehicles were affected in about 45 days, or about once a week.
Thefts cost them thousands of dollars.
âWe rely on these vehicles a lot and when something like that happens it really puts us behind the eight ball,â said Steve Ross, executive director of the foundation.
Ross faces the puzzle of thefts.
âIt’s just a big, big pain,â he said.
Thieves drilled holes in their fence to get in and even the barbed wire above.
âIf they want something bad enough, they’re going to find a way in,â Ross said.
Each flight costs the organization approximately $ 1,300 each. This does not include towing charges.
So far, they’re looking at around $ 10,000 to get them fixed.
âAnything extra like this we just don’t have in our budget,â Ross said.
âPrecious metals. They are worth a lot of money, âsaid Sgt. Dillon Quirk with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Quirk added that it is also difficult to stop these crimes which only take a few minutes to commit. He said they sometimes see an increase in thefts, but there is no rhyme or reason as to why.
âIt happens so quickly, often we come, and the suspect has already run away,â Quirk said.
The foundation’s clients are also affected by this wave of thefts.
âThese vehicles are our lifeline,â said Ross. âWe are an adult developmental day care center and if we don’t have these vehicles, we can’t transport people here in the morning and bring them home in the afternoon. We just have to call and say I’m sorry, but we have no way of getting them here today.
Ross and the foundation are now looking for ways to stop it, like electric fencing. He said they hope they can fix the problem soon.
âIt will be another expense that we will have, but I hope it might deter someone in the future,â Ross said.
According to Ross, about 60% of their budget is funded by the state. About 15% of this amount comes from the fact that they are a partner agency of Centraide. The remaining 25% comes from donations. With everything going on right now, he said it was pretty tight.
Learn how to donate on their website.
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