WALLINGFORD — Moments before a scheduled field trip, a local daycare center discovered Wednesday morning that catalytic converters from two vans used to transport students had been stolen.
The Kids Care Child Development Center, 951 N. Main Street Ext., reported the thefts to police shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Sgt. Michael Forcier. The catalytic converters had been cut from the bottom of the two vehicles, Forcier said.
Police received another report Wednesday of catalytic converters stolen from two vehicles at the Battery Shop of New England, 69 S. Turnpike.
The thefts may have occurred overnight, said Police Chief William Wright.
“It occurs from time to time,” Wright said of catalytic converter thefts. The parts contain valuable metals.
Frenchy’s Auto Repair, 508 Main St., reported a similar theft three weeks ago. Co-Owner Joe Menard said the parts were taken from the repair shop property in an area security cameras did not reach. Menard said it is not the first time it happened.
“Cat converter has rhodium and platinum. It’s worth a lot in metal,” Menard said. “It could run from $40 to $150 or more.”
CT Power and Sport, 935 N. Main Street Ext., sells ATVs, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles and is located next to the daycare center. The shop, which has been at the location since 2007, has had an ongoing problem with missing equipment and vehicles.
General Manager Brian Guarino said police are investigating the issue and that he could not speak extensively about the incidents at the shop. Guarino said that the Kids Care center has been helpful in the past.
“They’re good people over there and the kids are kind of heartbroken,” Guarino said. “It kind of sucks.”
Brian Guarino, general manager of Connecticut Power & Sport at 935 N. Main St. Ext. in Wallingford, Wed., Aug. 14, 2019. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal
The vehicles were back in service on Thursday, according to a post on the center’s Facebook page.
Guarino said the stolen parts are more common than people realize and suggests that police increase patrols in the area. Guarino said in the case of the daycare, an electric saw or pipe cutter could have been used to remove the pieces.
Forcier said video footage provided to police from local businesses or residents could help with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 203-294-2800.