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Catalytic converters targeted by thieves

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The Boys & Girls Club of Chaves County is down to one vehicle for transporting children after the catalytic converters were stolen off one of its vans last week.

The organization has been using space at the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center while the building it leases from the city at 201 S. Garden Ave. has been undergoing renovation.

The group has had two vans parked in the recreation center’s parking lot, and discovered the theft Thursday when staff started the van and the engine sounded “really rough,” Tim Coughlin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaves and Lincoln Counties, said.

The van has two catalytic converters and both were stolen, Coughlin said.

“They were supposed to go pick up the kids, so we had to change plans immediately,” Coughlin said.

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The organization has been using the second van for all its routes, so that means it takes more time to pick the children up for after-school activities.

“It takes them longer to go hit up all the schools to get the kids and then they don’t have as much time left at the club,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin said parts for the van are expected to arrive this week, and the club will have to foot the whole bill for the replacement. The cost came in at $950, just $50 under the insurance deductible.

“It’s definitely unbudgeted money so we’re going to have pull that out of something else and get it fixed. It’s just one of those things I haven’t even really thought about. We’ve just got to do it,” he said.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals that reduce pollutants in exhaust from gas engines. They have become targets for theft nationwide, Roswell Police Department Lt. Joe Smith said.

“We’ve had our share off and on here in Roswell, but they’re pretty easily removable from the vehicle with a couple of cordless power tools,” he said.

The thefts typically occur overnight and are not limited to any one part of town, Smith said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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