A Calgary agency that helps at-risk children is out tens of thousands of dollars.
Heartland Agency and Educational Services is a non-profit organization that provides early learning childcare and early intervention for at-risk children and their families.
Since November, thieves have stolen 12 catalytic converters from its fleet of 18 buses in its Monterey Park and Mayland Heights locations.
“We’re looking at approximately $2,500 each time a catalytic converter is stolen,” Heartland Agency site manager Dee-Ann Chibray said.
“The financial impact is huge.”
To date, Chibray said the agency has spent approximately $30,000 replacing the stolen catalytic converters.
“We’re under a lot of pressure financially, with government cuts coming down,” Chibray said.
“So when you add in something like $30,000 to a piece of our programming that is so important, it really puts our organization in a bind.”
Transportation for those youth is an essential part of the agency’s operations, Chibray said.
“Busing is an integral part of our program,” Chibray stated.
“A lot of our parents don’t have the ability to transport their kids to and from school, so this is really important.”
Catalytic converter thefts are a growing problem across Alberta.
The latest statistics from Calgary police show thefts have spiked. There were 45 catalytic converter thefts in Calgary in 2018 compared to 205 last year.