Thieves hobble non-profit with catalytic converter thefts

Multnomah County

Ride Connection had 10 vehicles grounded by the thefts

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the late night hours in different locations in Multnomah County, 10 catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles belonging to Ride Connection, a non-profit whose services are vital, especially in the pandemic.

Seven of the thefts happened on Nov. 19 and they happened in Gresham and other spots in the county.

“We believe we were a target because it was all Ride Connection vehicles and we have logos on our vehicles,” CEO Julie Wilcke Pilmer told KOIN 6 News. “But also these larger catalytic converters are worth more.”

Each catalytic converter, which controls exhaust emissions, costs the non-profit about $2,300 to install.

The catalytic converter was stolen from 10 vehicles used by the non-profit Ride Connection, November 2020 (KOIN)

“This has greatly impacted our service and our operation. I mean, in this time where people are going to essential services like dialysis treatment and chemotherapy, if we have to take 10 vehicles off the road in order to get them fixed, it creates a situation where we don’t have the capacity to serve all of the customers that we need to,” she said.

Ride Connection had issues with thefts in the past and even bought protective cages to prevent it from happening again, but it didn’t work. They’ve filed police reports in both Portland and Gresham.

“Unfortunately in this time where catalytic converters are being targeted there is also a supply chain issue,” she said. “So we don’t have a specific date when we will have those parts to get those back in service.”

Ride Connection CEO Julie Wilcke Pilmer, November 23, 2020 (KOIN)

In the meantime, they are doing everything they can to get our communities most vulnerable citizens what they need and where they need to go.

“We are taking people food boxes that don’t have food in their homes. So we are just trying to utilize all of our resources, and we have paid and volunteer drivers who support our activities,” Pilmer said. “So we are just trying to pack tighter schedules and see if we can get everybody everything they need.”

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