NAMPA, Idaho — Catalytic converters from two buses were stolen from Kangaroo Academy in Nampa on Monday.
“We went to fire up all the buses to get them ready for weekly field trips and turned one of them on and we had an exhaust leak. A very severe exhaust leak was what we thought,” said Jennifer Koppes, the owner of Kangaroo Clubhouse which owns Kangaroo Academy.
After further inspection, the staff discovered what they thought was an exhaust leak was actually missing catalytic converters.
Koppes says she could tell someone had sawed them off. Catalytic converters turn pollutants into less harmful exhaust and are a target for thieves.
“They are filled with platinum, palladium, and rhodium—very precious metals. They’re quite valuable," Mike Temple, regional manager for Pacific Steel and Recycling, said.
He said catalytic converters can sell for up to $900 and the recycling industry is aware there’s a theft problem.
Pacific Steel and Recycling has protocols in place to make sure they’re not buying stolen catalytic converters.
“We must see a valid ID and they must be in a vehicle with a license plate on it. We document those. We find out where the cat [catalytic converter] came from, what vehicle it was from, and there’s distinguishing marks on that catalytic converter to match if what they’re saying is true,” Temple said.
The Oregon legislature recently passed a law that would make precautions like these mandatory. It’s not the only state to do so. Texas and Tennessee have also recently passed laws hoping to crack down on catalytic converter theft.
Koppes filed a report with Nampa Police on the catalytic converter theft but hasn’t heard anything back yet.
“We got an overwhelming response from the community and I had so many people ask what they could do to help support us," Koppes said.
She started a GoFundMe where people can donate towards the cost of new catalytic converters. Class starts at Kangaroo Academy on Thursday.