JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — A bus used to transport elderly and disabled residents to and from medical appointments is back in service this week after somebody stole two catalytic converters at Johnson County Senior Services.
The theft happened December 26 at JCSS’s new office off Tracy Road in New Whiteland. Video shows a man walk onto the non-profit’s lot, approach the transport van and walk off holding what appears to be two catalytic converters and a saw.
“It’s heart wrenching,” said Johnson County Senior Services Director Kimberly Smith. “Because this directly affects the precious souls that have to get to life-saving treatment.”
JCSS typically serves about 9,000 seniors per month. The organization was already facing a $167,000 fundraising deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending thousands of dollars to repair the bus was the last thing the organization needed, Smith said.
However, after seeing a Facebook post about the crime, Ken Pearson made the quick decision to help. Pearson owns Greene’s Auto & Truck Repair on the south side of Indianapolis.
“I just knew that we needed to help, because those aren’t cheap,” Pearson said. “I have to admit, our company’s had a really good year, a strong year. We’re blessed, so you want to give back when you can — help somebody in need.”
Pearson reached out to Smith and offered to replace the two catalytic converters and repair the bus at no charge.
“It’s something that when you do it, you feel really good about yourself and the community you live in,” Pearson said.
“When people have a heart to step up and say that seniors matter means so much to us,” Smith said.
This week, the repaired bus was delivered back to Johnson County Senior Services, bringing the organization’s fleet and ability to serve the community back up to full speed.
“It just touches our hearts completely when people step up and say that these folks truly are important to them,” Smith said.
“People sometimes just need help,” Pearson said. “And when you can help them, you know you’re doing something good.”
The alleged thief captured in the video is still at large. New Whiteland Police hope somebody will recognize the man and call in a tip.
“Within days, maybe even within hours,” said New Whiteland Police Corporal Joshua Medsker. “I’m hoping with hours. Again, it’s a small community, everybody is tight knit. Somebody’s got to know something.”