AKRON, Ohio — Akron police are investigating at least seven separate incidents involving thefts of catalytic converters over several days, which included several buses that transport people with disabilities.
Police provided a list of locations officers have responded to for reports of stolen catalytic converters:
- King Benz Auto, located in the 1200 block of Brittain Road
- 700 block of Carnegie Avenue
- The United Disability Services, located in the 700 block of South Main Street
- 2500 block of Romig Road
- Petermann Bus Company, located in the 800 block of South Arlington Street
- AT&T, located in the 1100 block of East Waterloo Road
- An AMHA property, located in the 1100 block of Exeter Avenue
All of the crimes occurred in the evening or early morning hours between Jan. 6 and Jan. 13, according to police.
In total, at least 33 catalytic converters were stolen off vehicles by an unknown suspect or suspects who cut and removed the part, causing exhaust damage to the vehicles.
Brian Thomas, the president and CEO of United Disability Services, said five catalytic converters were cut off transit buses. The thefts were discovered early Monday morning and the agency had to scramble to find transportation for many of the 700 clients it serves daily.
"It's very unfortunate, and in this case, it's kind of cruel," Thomas said. "This affects a lot of people."
Lt. Michael Miller believes the crooks are stealing the car parts for scrap metal.
"We believe that the majority of suspects take these products, this equipment, to scrap them," Miller said. "Apparently, there's metal, precious metals, that are made up in the catalytic converters and it has some value."
While the incidents appear to be related, police are still investigating to determine the exact link and identify the person or people responsible. Police are reviewing surveillance cameras near one of the crime scenes that may have captured video of the crooks and their getaway vehicle.
Anyone with information regarding any of the incidents is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip.