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Montreal seniors home bus robbed of catalytic converter for 2nd time in 7 months

Click to play video: 'NDG seniors home bus robbed of catalytic converter for 2nd time in 7 months' NDG seniors home bus robbed of catalytic converter for 2nd time in 7 months
For the second time in less than a year, the bus for the New Hope Senior Citizens' Centre in Montreal's NDG borough has had its catalytic converter stolen. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, this type of crime has skyrocketed over the past four years – Apr 27, 2022

For the second time in less than a year the bus for the New Hope Senior Citizens’ Centre in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Que., has fallen victim to catalytic converter theft.

Last week one of the volunteer drivers started the bus to take a group of seniors off to a Cabane a sucre only to find out that once again the catalytic converter had been stolen from beneath the frame.

“Our bus is clearly marked who we are and it really angers me that the centre has once again been preyed upon. We are a small not-for-profit and can’t afford such large repair bills,” said Gerry Lafferty, executive director.

 READ MORE: Brazen catalytic converter theft caught on camera leaves B.C. resident with big bill

Just last September the high-valued auto part was sawed off the 20-passenger vehicle for the first time.

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The bus is lent out to a number of senior groups in the city at a modest cost for excursions.

“It’s obvious were a charity I look at this as someone going into church and taking money from the collection plate,” Lafferty said. “It really does hurt us.”

READ MORE: Catalytic converter thefts already an issue for drivers this year

Both incidents occurred in the Montreal-Ouest lot where the bus is parked.

The first time this happened New Hope had the vehicle repaired at the cost of $3,000. No claim on the insurance was made according to Lafferty.

The garage welded the converter directly onto the frame in hopes that the problem would not happen again.

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Ask the Expert: Tips for protecting your vehicle from catalytic converter theft – Nov 15, 2021

Lafferty says he expects to pay more for this latest repair, one that he says the New Hope centre can barely afford.

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“It’s going to cost us more because we are going to get a cage built under the bus to encompass the converter and protect so this doesn’t happen again,” Lafferty said.

READ MORE:  West Island woman upset after discovering catalytic converter missing from car

A police report was filed and Lafferty says he was informed by officers that this type of crime is happening throughout Quebec and has skyrocketed in recent years.

According to SPVM officials, 2,219 thefts were reported in 2020 on the Island of Montreal alone.

Since 2018 cases of stolen converters have jumped sevenfold, SPVM spokesperson Caroline Labelle said.

The catalytic converter is a part of the car’s exhaust system that contains precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum.

The auto part is designed to reduce harmful emissions.

A worldwide shortage has pushed up the price of precious metals, making catalytic converters a lucrative target for thieves.

In February, Montreal police arrested, a 28-year-old suspect and the head of a metal recycling company in connection with an operation involving the theft of catalytic converters.

Police said that searches conducted at the offices of the company, located in the borough of Saint-Léonard, led to the seizure of nearly $260,000 in cash.

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Despite the incidents, Lafferty says the bus will remain parked in Montreal Ouest and should be back up and running by next month.

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