Catalytic converters stolen from 2 Salvation Army vehicles in Leamington

·2 min read

Police are investigating the theft of catalytic converters from two vehicles belonging to the Salvation Army in Leamington.

Major Judi Wickens said she was disappointed that someone would target a non-profit that provides food and other aid to the community, especially at Christmas time.

The van and truck, which had Salvation Army signage, were found inoperable on Monday outside the church.

"The catalytic converters were cut out and some wiring in our van as well," she said.

The wiring issue has also led to transmission problems, Wickens explained, and the van remains out of service as of Tuesday.

The vehicle is part of the group's emergency disaster services and used to provide food and drink at fire scenes, Wickens said.

OPP
OPP

The other vehicle that was targeted, a truck used to pick up food donations, is back from the repair shop and will be back on the road Wednesday, Wickens said.

"Yesterday we were scrambling, trying to phone everybody and ask them if they were willing to deliver or hold it until after Christmas because we wouldn't be able to do the pickups."

Thefts 'disheartening'

Catalytic converters — which are part of a vehicle's exhaust system — are a frequent target of thieves for their scrap metal value.

The OPP said the theft took place sometime between Friday and Monday.

"At a time where non-profit charitable organizations have struggled with less donations and higher demand this is very disheartening," the police force said in a statement.

Wickens said the thefts have been costly. The fundraiser that supports the Salvation Army's operations, the Kettle Campaign, was impacted by the pandemic.

"It just added to our financial stress," she said.

The OPP is asking anyone with information to call them at 1-888-310-1122 or contact Crime Stoppers.