Catalytic Converter Thieves Rob the Youth Center Bus

Oceans Church volunteers cleaning the Youth Center bus in preparation for Teen Camp. 

By Gina Elefante

The Youth Center in Los Alamitos recently experienced the theft of a costly catalytic converter from their youth bus, making it unsafe to operate. A report was filed with Los Alamitos Police Department on April 13, as staff members noticed the part was missing at 11 a.m. that same day. It’s believed it was taken sometime in early morning or the prior evening.

Norm’s Automotive, a longtime supporter of The Youth Center, is working with the nonprofit to replace and repair their vehicle. The part is expensive to replace and costs more than $3,000.

“This is so disheartening,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “As a nonprofit we struggle to keep our doors open and this expense does not help. We’re calling on the public to remain vigilant and aware.”

From Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen’s recent newsletter, catalytic converter theft is on the rise. The increasing prices of the precious metals used in the production make it enticing for thieves. A catalytic converter can cash in for anywhere between $50 and $250 when sold to an unscrupulous recycling facility, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain has massively increased the value of the precious metals inside catalytic converters and thieves have caught on.

“Is nothing sacred?” said Youth Center Board Member Arnie Fine. “I’m disgusted with what happened. The Youth Center bus is clearly marked with photos of children all over it, and this is who is being robbed and placed in danger.”

The Youth Center staff is handling the issue by working with their insurance company to fix the bus in a timely manner. Though insurance will cover the cost of the part, the deductible will come out of pocket from the Youth Center. To help them defray the cost, The Youth Center is looking for a Good Samaritan to help cover the deductible. If you are interested in helping, please contact The Youth Center at or 562-493-4043.

If anyone witnessed anything suspicious on or around April 13 in the Los Alamitos Community Center parking lot, please contact Los Alamitos Police Department at 562-431-2255 or .


Author: Los Al TV


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