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Catalytic converter thieves target 2 Green Country school districts, 1 church

Posted at 7:24 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 20:25:02-04

COWETA, Okla. — Crime is causing a setback for two school districts in Green Country.

Catalytic converters were stolen from multiple vehicles belonging to Drumright and Coweta schools. The crimes are an added stressor with the first day of the semester being only days away.

Rick Greene, transportation director for Coweta Public Schools says the thief kicked the bus barn’s gate in and crawled right under. Six vehicles were targeted.

The district’s only regret is not having surveillance cameras.

“It costs the school district a lot of money,” Greene said.

CPS has vehicle insurance but there is still a hefty $10,000 cost it must pick up.

“Well, it’s so close to school starting,” said Greene. “We’re just hoping to get them all repaired by the time school starts because it delivers our food to all of our different schools.”

The Coweta bus barn was hit with thefts a week ago. Seven days later, the facility’s neighbor was also hit.

“It runs ok but it runs pretty loud,” said Pastor Adam Mask of Community Baptist Coweta.

The church’s van was stripped of its catalytic converter Tuesday night. The building’s security video shows the act taking no more than three minutes.

“That’s all it took,” Mask said. “My heart breaks for him because this is a very giving church. If anybody's in need, we’d love to assist you.”

Mask handed this video over to police.

Coweta Police Chief Michael Bell says he learned recently that the Oklahoma Information Fusion Centermight be able to help. They have the technology that could identify the vehicle in the church’s video and possibly read a plate number from it.

“We don’t have that capability,” said Bell. “So, it’s nice we have an agency in Oklahoma that will help us do that.”

The public school district in Drumright has damage costs that go over $40,000. Two buses there were also targeted, and a supply shortage is delaying repairs.

Bell says this type of crime is a nationwide problem that has even caught the attention of the FBI.

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