Catalytic converter thieves target Calgary school buses

Dozens of Calgary school buses have been targeted by scrap metal thieves at a cost of thousands of dollars, police say.

Police say about 50 units ripped from buses in recent months

Southland Transportation says it has tightened its security amid a rash of catalytic converter thefts. (CBC)

Dozens of Calgary school buses have been targeted by scrap metal thieves at a cost of thousands of dollars, police say.

The thieves have been sneaking into school bus yards at night and sawing off the buses' catalytic converters.

The exhaust emission control devices contain high-value metals that criminals sell for cash. 

Sgt. Doug Crippen says the parts can cost over $2,000.

He estimates there have been about 50 buses that have been targeted in recent months.

Police say thieves are targeting catalytic converters on Calgary school buses. (CBC)

"The amount of damage that they're doing versus the reward that they're getting is astronomical," he said.

Southland Transportation is among the organizations hit.

Regional director Craig Loose wouldn't say how many of its buses have been affected, but he said the company has tightened its security. 

"They are quite expensive," he said of the catalytic converters.

And thieves aren't only going after buses. Police say the converters are being stolen from all kinds of vehicles, particularly large ones.

Crippen says it happens "anywhere somebody can get up and under the vehicle and basically cut off the catalytic converter … quickly and in a way that they cannot be detected."

Police say there were 66 stolen catalytic converters from all types of vehicles in November alone.

With files from Amy Tucker


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