East Hartford police are investigating the theft of catalytic converters cut off at least 27 buses at First Transit/Greater Hartford Transit District.
Someone broke into the fenced-in bus yard on Roberts Street sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning, according to police. Workers discovered bus after bus, used for ADA paratransit - were hit.
“It's very frustrating and it's too bad," Vicki Shotland, executive director of the Greater Hartford Transit District said.
Shotland said on Sunday someone broke through a fence at the East Hartford lot, cut off the parts and then took off in one of the busses.
“They stole one of our vehicles by breaking the steering column, then hotwiring it and drove the vehicle out when our gates opened in the morning," Shotland said.
That bus was later found in New Britain.
Ken Gray, a senior lecturer at the University of New Haven, said catalytic converters contain rare earth metals and the price of the metals and the converters have been going up. But once swiped it can be hard to solve the case.
“There is no index of these parts to where you cannot go and say that this particular catalytic converter came from this particular car. So that makes it difficult," Gray said.
In the East Hartford case, there might be missing a clue. Shotland said the stolen bus had a special camera in it – like the one in this picture - and when the bus was later found it was gone. She suspects the device was tossed out somewhere between East Hartford and New Britain.
“If it's found, we may be able to capture, you know, something that will be helpful. But it's going to be really tough to get that back," Shotland said.
The Transit District is now offering a $250 reward for whoever finds the camera and brings it to the Transit offices at Union Station in Hartford. Insurance is expected to cover the theft, and services should not be disrupted.