Police in Connecticut are looking for the vandal or vandals who damaged seven wheelchair-accessible vans a nonprofit uses to transport people with disabilities.
The vans had their catalytic converters disconnected and taken sometime last weekend while parked at Ability Beyond’s Bethel office, Ability Beyond’s Alisa Picerno told NBC Connecticut.
The damage to the vans is estimated at around $10,000, though the actual number may be higher, and repairs will not be completed until the new year, she said.
Without the catalytic converters, Ability Beyond is unable to transport its clients for employment programs, Picerno said. Ability Beyond also helps transport clients to day programs, including trips to museums and libraries, bowling, arts and crafts, and photography classes, according to its website.
The nonprofit's website says it "helps to break down barriers and create new paths for the people we serve. Our programs empower individuals, no matter their ability, to live with independence, work with dignity and thrive in their communities."
Bethel police are investigating the incident which occurred on Berkshire Boulevard.
Catalytic converters, part of a vehicle’s emissions control system, contain trace amounts of precious metals and thieves often sell them for their scrap value.
“We are shuffling schedules and vehicles to minimize the impact for the people we serve,” Jane Davis, president and CEO of Ability Beyond, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
“Transportation is a critical service that we provide,” said Davis “Without it, many clients would not be able to participate in our vital programs.”
Ability Beyond can be reached at 888-832-8247 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The nonprofit accepts donations online through its website.
Anyone with information should call Bethel police at 203-744-7900.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.