Vandals targeting catalytic converters threaten summer camps

Officials at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Winston-Salem said if flights continued, buses might not be available for activities.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Plans to return to a more normal camp schedule at the Ken Carlson Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Winston-Salem are in jeopardy.

Officials said a spate of vandalism incidents on buses is the latest challenge the center has faced in recent months.

“Four buses in our Boys & Girls Club fleet have had their catalytic converters stolen in recent months. One of the buses has had it twice,” said Major Andrew Wiley, Salvation Army area commander. Grand Winston-Salem.

Experts said catalytic converters are valuable because of the precious metals inside which help filter emissions. Law enforcement officials also said that they are not protected by a blanket, that they are easy to steal with simple tools and difficult to trace once they are gone.

RELATED: “It Was Loud, You Could Smell The Exhaust,” Over 300 Catalytic Converters Stolen From Greensboro

“We understand that catalytic converters are popular targets for thieves these days and have made sure, but we need to have our buses available if we are to be able to offer tours for our summer camp members this year. “said Wiley.

“Because we’ve been in COVID for a whole year, our kids missed field trips last year, so they were really looking forward to field trips this summer,” said Sylvia Adams of the Boys and Girs Club. of Winston-Salem.

Some of the kids at the club said they were disappointed with the flights.

“If you want something, you can just build it or buy it, but not steal it because stealing is wrong,” said sixth-grader Mikaylah Fuller.

“We raised a lot of money to get all the material and now we don’t have it because you all took it,” said third-grader Vivian Gerald.

Officials said two buses are being repaired, but they fear the vandals will strike again.

“If this continues to happen, we won’t be able to do a pickup and it’s going to be an interruption for parents as they have to find a way to get their kids back if we can’t get them back,” Adams said.

In addition to the buses, the catalytic converter was stolen from a club minivan, and the organization’s gate poles were torn from the ground during one of the robberies.

“We are grateful to the Winston-Salem Police Department for their diligence in investigating these thefts, but we remain concerned that, if they continue this summer, there will be an effect. very negative about the Boys & Girls Club programs, ”Wiley said. .

The kids just want to stop vandalism so they can have fun in the summer.

“If you haven’t used it, you have to return it because it’s ours and we’ve paid dearly for it,” Fuller said.

“If we find out who did it, it’s going to be more difficult for all of you, so please don’t do it again,” Gerald said.

Anyone with information on thefts and vandalism is encouraged to notify the Winston-Salem Police Department.

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