BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County fell victim to a widespread crime in Kern County: catalytic converter theft.
“I’m getting upset just thinking about it,” said Smith.
Zane Smith, the organizations executive director, said volunteers were on their way to deliver 2,000 meals to kids in Arvin and Lamont when something went wrong.
“The vehicles would not go over 35 miles an hour,” said Smith.
He was immediately concerned and had the delivery trucks taken to a local mechanic. That’s where he discovered all three converters taken.
Fortunately, the club was still able to make the delivery of nearing 2,000 meals on time.
“It’s one thing to be stolen from and have the kids stolen from. It’s another for them to miss meals,” said Smith.
Also, with the repair estimated at 3,000 dollars and each serving costing roughly three dollars, the work will likely cost the children hundreds of free meals.
“I would say about 1,000 meals,” said Smith.
Why steal these exhaust emission systems in the first place?
Gregg Pierucci, the owner of Advance Muffler and Automotive, told 17 News earlier this year what’s inside can catch a pretty penny.
“There are precious metals inside including platinum and plutonium,” said Pierucci.
Nevertheless, Smith says there is no price high enough to justify taking from a hungry child.
“The children that we serve are innocent,” said Smith. “What an awful scenario to put them in the situation.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs have also said the community has stepped up following the robbery, donating towards the cost of the repairs and offering safe spaces to park the vehicles.