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Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Omaha

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:04 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha family is now left without any transportation after a much-needed part of their van was stolen — and it turns out, they are not alone.

Dan Golden and his wife have five kids. Their van is made just for the family, and it’s the only way they can all get around town.

“We need a giant van to get anywhere. Two of them are in wheelchairs so the van has a wheelchair lift on the back that we use to get them in and strap them down,” Golden said.

When he started the van Sunday, it made a loud noise. His catalytic converter had been stolen.

“Shimmied under the van and all of the sudden noticed there was a big gap where there should be something connecting something and all of the sudden, there’s not,” Golden said.

He took his van to Auto Tech near 84th and Miami. Owner Jeff Jenkins said in the past two months, he’s seen an increase in stolen catalytic converters.

Jenkins says he believes this van was targeted because it’s high off the ground, making it easy for thieves to take the piece quickly.

“It’s basically right here in this area. This one is gone. Nice clean cut and they are probably in and out of there in 60 seconds,” he said.

Omaha Police say the thieves are after the precious metal inside the catalytic converter. They say that in the past 45 days, 50 of the parts have been reported stolen in Omaha.

Golden said he wishes thieves would think twice about the people they are impacting.

“Without the van, they are basically stuck here,” Golden said. “If there’s a medical emergency, we have to call an ambulance instead of putting somebody in the van and going to urgent care.”

The price tag to replace those catalytic converters can add up for car owners. Depending on the make, model, and size of the car, it can cost between $1,000 and $3,500.

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