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Catalytic converter thieves target school buses in Reynolds School District

The district said catalytic converters were stolen from 19 school buses and three other fleet vehicles, amounting to $70,000 in damage.
Credit: Stock image

TROUTDALE, Ore. — Reynolds School District officials said catalytic converters were stolen from 19 school buses and three other district-owned vehicles over the weekend, totaling roughly $70,000 in damage.

Surveillance video shows a person scouting the school district's transportation lot on Saturday, Sept. 11, before walking away with a converter, said district spokesman Steve Padilla.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is working to identify the people responsible for the thefts. It's unclear how many suspects may have been involved.

The district has a total of 115 school buses in its fleet, and the out-of-service buses are not expected to impact bus routes for students, said Padilla. However, he said the buses will likely take several months to repair because of supply chain backlogs due to the pandemic. 

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He said the district is shopping all over the nation for converters as well as wires and exhaust pipes to fix the damage. 

"It's a public school district. This is coming out of everyone's funds that support the district and that hurts," Padilla said. "We could use $70,000 for a lot of different things in our district."

Catalytic converters have been a hot item for thieves the past couple years because they contain precious metals that can be sold to scrap yards. 

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact MCSO.