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New Brunswick food bank experiences theft of catalytic converter, halting deliveries

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick community steps up after catalytic converter robbery at food bank'
New Brunswick community steps up after catalytic converter robbery at food bank
WATCH: Catalytic converter thefts are not new in New Brunswick, with thieves targeting the auto parts because of the precious metals they contain. But for an Oromocto, N.B., food bank, having their vehicles damaged by thieves has been a heavy blow – until the community helped out. Nathalie Sturgeon has that story – Sep 29, 2022

Jane Buckley says a recent theft from the Oromocto Food Bank was traumatic.

Buckley is the executive director at the food bank and caught two individuals on her property on Sept. 25, just after midnight.

“I had two trucks parked here, a van and larger truck, and they removed the catalytic converter from the van and they spent an awful lot of time trying to remove the catalytic converter from the truck,” she said. “They weren’t successful, but they did a lot of damage underneath.”

Buckley said she’s contacted the police about the theft, but also posted on Facebook about it. The theft meant the delivery van was not usable and the cold storage truck needed repairs before it could be used.

“It affects our pickups, our deliveries, and it affects our running around and things like that,” she said. “So it does put a stop to a lot of the stuff that we do on a regular basis.”

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In particular, it means the food bank can’t get food to shut-ins, distant and senior clients. It put a stop to deliveries to local schools who depend on the food bank for the nutrition in its breakfast program, Buckley said.

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However, the community was quick to step in.

Four local auto shops — Model Town Auto, Warren’s Auto, Wonder Auto and Wood Ford Motors — stepped in to do the repairs for free for the food bank, with parts donated by the local Napa Auto Parts.

“It’s amazing,” she said of the support.

The truck which sustained damage has been repaired and returned to the food bank.

“People are angry, people are frustrated with the amount of thievery that’s happening and they are taking a stand against it,” she said. “So the next process for us, food banks, us in general, is to see what we can do prevent it from happening in the future.”

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The RCMP in New Brunswick say they are aware of thefts of catalytic converters.

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In February 2021, the police were investing the theft of 33 catalytic converters in eight different communities.

Cpl. Hans Ouellette said the best thing organizations and people can do it keep their vehicles locked in a building, if possible. Otherwise, leave them in a well-lit area.

For Buckley, her attention now turns to preventing it in the future.

“I think we need to do something,” she said. “It just becomes an ongoing battle.”

Click to play video: 'Catalytic converter thieves have become increasingly more brazen in their methods'
Catalytic converter thieves have become increasingly more brazen in their methods

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