Local businesses seeing a rise in thefts, having catalytic converters taken off company vehicles

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:43 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Several local businesses have recently reported being a victim of theft, which has left them unable to use some of their company vehicles.

The Arc Rapides organization has now been affected twice in the span of a few weeks with the most recent incident occurring this past weekend. Out of their 17 transit vehicles, five have had their catalytic converters stolen.

Duane Urbina, the Director of The Arc Rapides, said the non-profit organization helps the intellectual and developmentally handicap. They use the vehicles to pick up their clients across central Louisiana, but being down to just 12 vehicles has affected that.

“It’s harder for us to have a normal day here because we go out in the community and take our clients to eat. We also take them to the library, golf course, bowling alley and other different areas,” said Urbina. “That kind of hampers our ability to do that with all the vans down.”

Urbina filed a police report for both cases to the Alexandria Police Department. Josh Peppers, APD’s Public Information Officer, said the department is investigating other incidents across the city where catalytic converters were stolen from company vehicles.

Urbina believes there is a group of people involved in taking these parts and then selling them at scrap yards

“This is the second time we’ve gotten hit. The first time I said maybe this is just somebody that was coming by and was a random act but it’s not,” said Urbina. “It’s something that’s planned. It hurt the second time and was a little worse because we had three, and now have five vans out.”

Urbina said he’s expecting it to cost around $8,000 to fix and is upgrading their security to prevent it from happening again. Urbina advises other companies to put a guard over the catalytic converters to make sure they don’t get stolen.

All of the incidents are still under investigation. If anyone has any information, please contact the Detective Division at 318-449-5099.

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