Thieves goal strollers in southwest Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Daycare operators in southwest Omaha are angry about repeated thefts. Crooks target the vans that transport children every day.

While the children are waiting for a ride, Ben Schoemacker wonders if the stroller will sound.

Sure enough that the van ‘s catalytic converter was turned off overnight.

“It just makes me mad that they really want to show it to small businesses and kids,” Shoemacker said.

Smooth cuts don’t mean thieves are surgically precise and will leave a puddle of liquid under a second Millard childcare cart.

Meagan Clure, the daycare operator, said, “They hit other things and cause more damage. So it’s just an extra cost on top of everything else.”

Two miles west at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, two hand-held battery catalytic converter thieves stole catalytic converters from two vans at the daycare in the garden. Although masked, one of them can be recognized by his walk.

Jill Stogdill, the daycare operator, said: “It’s almost as if something is wrong with his right leg. I don’t know, but he walks differently so the gate to me can be seen.”

Over the past few weeks, catalysts have cut eleven vans off at four different day care centers in southwest Omaha where the cost and frustration add up.

“It’s like they exhausted us every time we turn them on. Let’s see if they go to work. They just sit ducks out there at night, none of our vans are in garages. Ultimately, it hurts the children because they are things for them that they no longer need to do or have, because we have to allocate the money elsewhere. “

Catalysts contain precious metals and online prices show scrappers pay up to two hundred dollars or more, depending on the model.

Ace Mufflers’ Jim Sargent is helping daycare centers prevent more thefts.

Sargent said, “So if a van gets into the stolen converters, I’ll put an aftermarket catalytic converter in there that they won’t take. In the junk world, it’s worth maybe $ 5.00. “

Sargent also adds Ace Muffler initials to warn the local junkyard of a catalytic converter theft.

It is difficult for daycare operators to see their vans parked outside day and night in order to find a potential deterrent. These stickers, which warn crooks, are monitored by cameras around the clock.

The addition of cameras and other deterrents shows catalyst thieves that daycare operators aren’t kidding when it comes to stopping or catching them.

The owner of two Omaha daycare centers paid nearly $ 9,000 to repair damaged vans. A junkyard says microphone vendors are usually paid by check to help authorities determine who is scraping large numbers of catalytic converters.

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