A rash of thefts has forced the Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan to pay for vehicle repairs instead of putting that money towards youth programs.
This week, the club announced that since 2021 began, thieves have stolen catalytic converters from three of its vehicles in downtown Kelowna.
It also said two of its vehicles in Vernon suffered the same fate in late October, with each catalytic converter replacement costing approximately $2,000 apiece and the club paying out of pocket.
“The (vehicle repair) money comes from our programs and services to kids,” said Jarrod Stocker, director of facilities and transportation with the Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan.
“Anytime these kinds of things, like thefts or acts of vandalism, (occur), they actually take from the services we provide to kids and youth on the streets.”
A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that reduces toxic exhaust gases. A variety of metals are used to create catalytic converters, including trace to very small amounts of palladium, platinum and rhodium.
According to several websites — including this one, which includes more information about catalytic converters — the price of platinum on Jan. 14, 2021, ranged between $1,100 and $1,400 Cdn per ounce. Palladium was selling for $3,000 an ounce, with rhodium pegged at $22,000 an ounce.
The first theft in Kelowna happened on Jan. 6, with the second on Jan. 13, with the third taking place early this morning, Jan. 14.
All occurred at the organization’s location at Graham Street and Martin Avenue, between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
“These investigations are ongoing and we are appealing for anyone with knowledge of these crimes to please come forward,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy of the Kelowna RCMP.
“We would also like to remind everyone to call us immediately if you see any suspicious activity.”
Stocker called the thefts disheartening.
“We’re a resilient organization, and we will bounce back from this,” said Stocker. “It’s just tough when it comes during a COVID year, where everybody is watching their nickels and dimes.
“We’ve been here since 1959, and we will bounce back because we’re really committed to the work we do with kids, families and youth on the street.”
For more about the Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan, click here.