Several Plainville School Buses Inoperable After Catalytic Converters Were Stolen

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Plainville police are investigating after 18 catalytic converters were stolen off school buses, which led to some delays in picking up students for school Tuesday.

Police said someone cut a large hole in a fence at the Dattco school bus property at 63 South Canal St. between Monday night and Tuesday morning and stole 18 catalytic converters from school buses. Dattco estimates this incident will cost them about $30,000 to $40,000.

A Dattco employee discovered the thefts shortly after 5 a.m. and employees started scrambling when they learned about 40 percent of their Plainville fleet was out of commission. 

“A lot of the school buses did go on time. But 18 vehicles, we had to go and pick up from some of our other sister yards across Connecticut, so those kids have been told it’s a two-hour delay. We will get them to school, but no crime is victimless. These kids and families have been affected,” Bryony Chamberlain, of Dattco, said.

Police said there were minor delays with student bus pick up Tuesday morning and Plainville’s superintendent of schools notified parents while the bus company procured buses from other locations.

Supt. Steve LePage, of the Plainville Community School District, said in a message to families “buses impacted included the smaller minibuses and vans. Bus numbers impacted include: 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 224, 115cr, 116cr, 117cr, 118cr, 119cr, 120cr, 121cr.”

Schools opened at the normal times.

Dattco said it shuffled buses enough so there shouldn't be delays this afternoon or tomorrow and they're working on getting replacement parts for the affected buses.

Plainville police chief Christopher Vanghele said the crime is dealing with catalytic converter thefts a lot more lately. 

“It's a consistent crime that we are trying to deal with, not just Plainville, but the surrounding towns -- all of Connecticut and in fact, New England this is occurring,” he said.

He said the thefts are planned and they are quick, so it’s difficult to catch the thefts in the act, and then the stolen catalytic converters are usually sold.

Chamberlain said Dattco has increased security and they thought they were safe for a while.

The company has dealt with closed to 100 of these thefts across Dattco, company officials said.

“I want people to know that this is a serious issue. Anything we can do to help the police in their investigations,” Chamberlain said.

Plainville police are investigating the thefts. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Steven Chase at 860-747-1616, extension 283.

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