MUNCIE, Ind. — A Muncie homeless shelter is down two cars this morning after a thief cut a barbed wire fence and stole catalytic converters from Muncie Mission vehicles while also damaging another employee vehicle.
Muncie Mission discovered the theft Tuesday morning after a maintenance man doing his normal routine find a piece of barbed wire cut off from the chain link gated area surrounding the shelter’s cars. Someone had cut the fence and went over it, Bob Scott, vice president of development at the shelter, said.
Once the thief or thieves climbed over the fence, Scott said they were inside a service lot for maintenance and off-season storage of shelter vehicles. Whoever was trespassing ended up stealing catalytic converters from two vehicles, a fleet truck and a maintenance truck, and dismantled a third personal vehicle but left the converter behind due to lack of metal.
“They’re vehicles that aren’t in everyday use right now,” Scott said.
However, Scott said despite this, the loss of the vehicle’s functionality is a big hit to the 90-year-old mens’ homeless shelter’s mission. At full operation, the shelter offers meal services, free weekly lunches, family services, clothing and hygeine item drives and other relief programs in addition to an addiction recovery and housing program.
Muncie Mission keeps the area where the vehicles were stored under lights and sensors, but unfortunately no cameras. The loss of the three vehicles, Scott said, hurts the shelter in two ways.
The fleet is critical for the shelter, which operates five thrift stores to financially support their mission, and is used to ship donated materials. The shelter usually has five box trucks in operation, but now only three due to one being in repair and another one without a catalytic converter.
Yet, beyond the impact on operations, money is the main issue the theft caused.
“Probably the biggest hit for us will be the expense of the repairs,” Scott said. “This really diverts money that would ordinarily go to sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry that now has to go toward fixing vehicles.”
Anyone with information on the catalytic converter theft from Muncie Mission is asked to contact the Muncie Police Department.