Thieves take catalytic converters from thrift store trucks in Collier County

Published: April 4, 2022 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: April 7, 2022 5:05 AM EDT

Thieves in Collier County targeted a nonprofit organization that gives back to its community. Crooks took catalytic converters from several trucks outside of Saint Vincent Thrift Store near East Naples.

St. Vincent DePaul says those trucks drive their mission. From picking up donations to conducting food drives, the trucks are how it’s done. But, last week, someone cut the catalytic converters off of three trucks.

Not only did someone steal from a nonprofit, but it left them with thousands of dollars worth of repairs to handle. Kim Schul is the executive director for St. Vincent De Paul. “The catalytic converters were literally cut off very cleanly out of all three trucks,” Schul said.

Yes, you heard that correctly. These thieves hit all three trucks. “That was a little mind-boggling. You know that this would happen,” said Schul.

It happened on the slab where the trucks are parked overnight. Security cameras are too far away to capture who did it, sadly. “It’s unfortunate that people feel like they have to resort to something like this,” Schul said.

St. Vincent De Paul provides hope to those facing financial and food insecurity. Their mission is “Help us help others help themselves.” So, thieves helping themselves to catalytic converters throws everybody off. “This hurts. It hurts for everybody,” said Schul.

It hurts everybody because these trucks drive the organization’s mission. “These trucks are on the road every day of the week, sometimes six days of the week, in order to get done what we have to get done,” Schul said.

The cost to repair is more than $3,000 per truck. “Between $3800 and $4800 a truck to fix, to repair and the timeline it can be anywhere between two weeks and probably two months,” said Schul.

But St. Vincent De Paul isn’t going to let this setback keep them from serving the community. “If you see our truck rumbling down the road, it will actually rumble the windows, but it’s us,” Schul said.

There are anti-theft devices you can buy and have attached to your car. Insurance companies suggest parking in well-lit areas or parking in a garage if you can.