VERNON, Conn. — Vernon Police said several school buses were out of service Thursday morning after catalytic converters were stolen off them.
Officers were called to the First Student bus company lot on Whitney Ferguson Road just before 6 a.m. Police said it resulted in minor delays for the school day.
"Operations went very smoothly this morning with Vernon Public Schools trying to rearrange bus routes and buses to accommodate students and children to getting to school safely," Sgt. Robert Marra told FOX61.
He said this is not the first time this has happened in town, and it is becoming more and more common.
"We're trying to track some of these reoccurring themes and that is one of them we're noticing that A, bus companies are getting hit and local businesses that have you know larger trucks out in the open," Marra added.
Towns and cities across the state are also seeing catalytic converters stolen off of vehicles at businesses and in people's driveways.
The valuable metal inside catalytic converters makes them a target for thieves.
"If it's an aftermarket one anything from $50 to $100, original equipment depending on which one it is they can get anywhere from $150 to $1500," said Chuck Tischofer, owner of Chuck's Automotive in East Hartford.
He said another reason the crime might be happening so often is because of how easy they are to steal.
"Takes 30 seconds to saw one off, and basically all you need is to slide underneath it to steal it," he said.
That means it can happen anywhere and is difficult to prevent.
"Anyone, anywhere. You could be at work, in your parking lot, you could be at a commuter lot, they could steal it right off your car in a commuter lot, you could be in downtown Hartford in a parking garage," said Tischofer.
While thieves can get a couple hundred dollars for the metal, it costs the victim a lot more to replace the catalytic converters.
"Very expensive and they're getting very hard to find right now because they've been stealing them," said Tischofer.
In Vernon, police said they will be stepping up patrols, keeping an eye out for these types of thefts but they are also asking the public for help.
"Be vigilant. If you see something say something. Even if you want to remain anonymous we'll take your complaint and we'll look into it," said Marra.
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