Kansas City nonprofit’s vans sitting idle after thieves steal catalytic converters

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders at one east Kansas City nonprofit say they’ve been ripped off.

Three vans that Urban Ranger Corps uses were left unusable after thieves stole the catalytic converters from those vehicles.

Administrators with the public service group said their teen participants suffer the most from this theft, which was reported to police in early March.

Erik Dickinson, the group’s president, said now the vans are still undriveable.

“We came out to start them and realized they sounded like Sherman Tanks. We figured out they’d been cut off for the copper,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said crooks likely stole the catalytic converters to trade the copper for cash. Metal dealers sometimes pay $80-100 apiece for them.

Without the converters, the vans make loud noises when they’re driven and create more air pollution. An automobile with no catalytic converter won’t pass a Missouri state inspection either.

“I joked with someone else that if you’d have just come in and asked us for $50, we’d have given you $50 instead of you costing us thousands to repair them,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said Urban Ranger Corps has a longstanding agreement in place to park the vans at Swope Ridge Nursing Home, which sits next door on Swope Parkway.

Dickinson estimates it would cost $5,000 to repair the three vans and install better lighting and security devices on them.

“I was very disappointed,” said Trina Dodson, whose grandson is enrolled in the program. “This organization prides itself on keeping young men off the streets and trying to keep them without the idle time and keeping their minds busy.”

“It hurts the community,” Dickinson said. “We can’t help load things. We can’t transport things for different organizations.”

If you know who’s behind this theft, please contact Kansas City CrimeStoppers at (816) 474-TIPS. All tips are anonymous. 

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