A New Brunswick school district says it faces thousands of dollars worth of repairs and tool replacement costs after its maintenance vehicles were broken into last week.
Twelve Anglophone East School District vehicles were broken into Wednesday and Thursday while parked near a Moncton school.
Stephanie Patterson, the district's director of communications, said three catalytic converters were cut off, eight others partially cut and a large variety of tools inside the vehicles were stolen.
"It's disappointing, it's disheartening," Patterson said.
"It's going to cost a lot of money to replace and repair all of the things that have been done, which is unfortunate because it all comes from the district's budget which could obviously be used for other things during the school year."
The tools are used for repairs at schools run by the district. Patterson said they try to do as much of that maintenance work as possible during the summer when students aren't in class.
An inventory is still underway to determine what's missing and figure out the cost to replace it all.
The initial damage to the vehicles parked beside Bernice MacNaughton High School off St. George Boulevard was discovered by district staff Thursday. More vehicles in that area were damaged later that day.
Patterson said the vehicles were locked. Windows were smashed and doors pried open. One vehicle had the hinges ground off, she said.
The district has reported the damage and thefts to the RCMP.
Codiac Regional RCMP Sgt. Christopher MacKenzie-Plante said the investigation continues, and as of Tuesday afternoon no arrests had been made.
The exhaust system component changes harmful pollutants to less toxic ones before being emitted. They contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.
"The New Brunswick RCMP is aware of the increase in thefts of catalytic converters in the Moncton-area," Mackenzie-Plante said.
RCMP received "dozens" of reports of copper wire and catalytic converter thefts in the Moncton and surrounding areas between July 9 and July 15, the Mounties said in a news release last month.
In one case on July 9, police said they were called after two large light poles on the Trans-Canada near River Glade were stripped of their copper wiring, rendering them inoperable.
Patterson said the vehicles were parked in a maintenance yard beside the school. There are security cameras in the area and the district's IT staff are reviewing footage to assist the investigation, she said.
Patterson said catalytic converters have previously been stolen from school buses, but staff can't recall a theft of this magnitude before.
Aubrey Kirkpatrick, the district's director of finance and administration, said in a Facebook post on the weekend that the tools included Milwaukee power tools, cables, tool bags with wrenches, tool boxes, and copper plumbing tools.
Patterson said vehicles have been moved to another location and the district will be reviewing the site to see what else can be done to protect their vehicles.
She encouraged anyone with information to contact RCMP and the school district.