Posted: Oct 15, 2012 1:39 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Oct 15, 2012 6:49 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Some thieves kept quite busy this weekend, busting into the Head Start Program on Old Brownsville Road, and making off with thousands of dollars in mechanical equipment.
"Our kitchen drivers come in about 7, 6:30 to 7 a.m.," said Maintenance Supervisor Tom Wailes.
FIve days a week, kitchen crews are up early and ready to deliver meals for more than a thousand kids. But Monday morning, it didn't take long for them to realize, they weren't going far.
"When they went to start their vehicles, they sounded like Nascars," said Wailes. That's because 6 of the vehicles were missing their catalytic converters. Its almost impossible to spot until you start your car. We took a peek under the car, and you can tell by the uncapped pipe, something is missing.
A catalytic converter is a pollution control device found in all vehicles, and without it, the car sounds like it has a busted muffler.
There's no telling when during the weekend the thieves hit, but it most likely happened at night. "They did disable the light that we have here, the security light," Wailes said.
No matter how much work they put into stealing these parts, its devastating for the state-funded program, and upsetting to Wailes who has this to say to the thieves: "they should just go get a real job!"
The Head Start program actually uses the vans to deliver breakfast, lunch and snacks to children each day, so the thieves actually took more than just mechanical equipment, they also could have taken away these children's meals.
"They really put us in a bind," said Wailes.
Luckily, with some quick thinking and fast action, hundreds of meals still made it this morning. Each of the 6 vans typically carries from 150-200 breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
"We had to juggle some vehicles around from our maintenance staff and then of course, we're renting cargo vans for the day or the week until we get these vehicles repaired," Wailes said.
The program is getting the lights fixed today.
Three vans are in the shop for catalytic converter replacements now.
Another van was broken into, and the ignition popped out, but it was not used.
Three more vans will be sent for repair tomorrow.
Police say thieves take the catalytic converters to Mexico where they can sell the parts for the platinum inside.
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