Community steps up after Compassionate Caravan catalytic converter theft

One Lexington non-profit is the latest victim in an ongoing string of catalytic converter thefts, not just here but across the country.
Compassionate Caravan

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- One Lexington non-profit is the latest victim in an ongoing string of catalytic converter thefts, not just here but across the country.

The Catholic Action Center’s Compassionate Caravan is a beacon of hope to the homeless..

“They’ll come out and approach the compassionate caravan because they know we’re not the police, we’re not gonna try to tear down their camp. We are simply bringing supplies and the goodwill and checking on them,” said Ginny Ramsey, director of the Catholic Action Center.

Their service transportation was hindered Saturday, when a volunteer made an unfortunate discovery.

“Brother Thomas started the engine and it was this huge noise. And we realized there was something wrong. And he checked and the catalytic converter had been cut-off,” Ramsey said.

Lexington police say catalytic converter thefts continue to rise because of the valuable minerals they contain. LPD says more than 20 suspects have been charged in connection to thefts in the past year.

Some auto repair shops are seeing an increase in people bringing their vehicles in to have those catalytic converters replaced, an expense that can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

“Thieves can get $100, $200, $300 for a “cat”, that’s going to cost you $2,000 or $3,000 to replace. And that’s unfortunately the side-effect to that,” said James Lewis, manager at the Southside Auto Repair.

Lexington police offer tips on things you can do to help prevent thieves from stealing catalytic converters from your vehicle, including parking your vehicle in a garage or well-lit area; parking next to stable objects that will keep thieves from getting to your vehicle; and install an anti-theft device which makes the converter more difficult to remove.

Southside Auto Repair worker Brittany Schmidt also recommends installing an anti-theft device.

“It’ll take them ten times longer to get through and you’ll probably catch them before they can get through all of them,” Schmidt said.

There is a happy ending. A person—wishing to remain anonymous—has paid for the repairs to the compassionate caravan.

“He said no, I’m going to take care of all of it.The caravan needs to be back on the road to help our brothers and sisters,” said Ramsey.

Others in the community have also offered help, including the use of vehicles until the center’s van is fixed, which Ramsey says is a lesson that no matter how bad things get, the good will overcome.

Categories: Local News, News