Thieves target Louisville nonprofits for catalytic converters: ‘It’s really disappointing’

Thieves target Louisville nonprofits for catalytic converters: ‘It’s really disappointing’
Both the Kentucky Humane Society and Down Syndrome of Louisville are left with broken vehicles, making their work in the community more difficult.
Both the Kentucky Humane Society and Down Syndrome of Louisville are left with broken vehicles, making their work in the community more difficult. (Source: Down Syndrome of Louisville / KY Humane Society Facebook)
Surveillance footage captured a man on camera at the Kentucky Humane Society who they believe is responsible for damaging their car.
Surveillance footage captured a man on camera at the Kentucky Humane Society who they believe is responsible for damaging their car. (Source: KY Humane Society)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Thieves have made it more difficult for another Louisville nonprofit to help the community.

The Kentucky Humane Society announced on Facebook Monday that it’s in need of emergency funds after a man attempted to steal a catalytic converter from one of its vehicles.

Down Syndrome of Louisville is still facing the impacts from the same crime committed there three months ago.

“Once starting them up, after we had been gone for a while after COVID, they were very loud and something was not right,” Julie Torzewski, the executive director of Down Syndrome of Louisville, said. “We looked even closer, and they even left the saw next to the vans.”

At the Kentucky Humane Society, their team noticed the same noise when starting one of their vehicles in early January. Surveillance footage captured a man on camera who they believe is responsible for damaging their car.

“What that means is that’s just have less money we have to spend on animal care,” Andrea Blair, the KHS PR & marketing director, said.

Criminals cut catalytic converters out of cars to make a quick buck, but their victims are left with hundreds to thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Blair said the thief did not steal the part but damaged it to the point that it needs to be replaced.

“We’re hearing from other businesses, nonprofits and individuals that it’s happening all across the region,” she said. “So, we’re not the only ones, but it’s just very disappointing though because this is an expense that was not budgeted for.”

KHS has launched an online fundraiser to make up for the loss available on Facebook or the organization’s website.

Repairs were donated to those at Down Syndrome of Louisville, but now they’re reworking a grant meant for a new van to create a secure holding area.

“We didn’t need the new van, but we really needed to house the vans we have and keep them safe,” Torzewski said. “They were very gracious to let us do that.”

Torzewski adds the organization is accepting bids for that project. If anyone is interested in helping Down Syndrome of Louisville, they can learn how to donate here.

Both nonprofits noted that the theft would be a hit to their budgets but said that their vehicles are crucial in their work.

“We use them for all ages, but mainly on a daily basis we take out our adult members into the community,” Torzewski said.

Humane Society officials said they use the vehicles to train rural shelter workers and transport animals.

“It’s really disappointing that somebody would attack a nonprofit like this or really anyone,” Blair said. “The vehicles that we use, they are used for animal rescue.”

Blair said anyone who recognizes the man in the surveillance video is asked to contact KHS or the Louisville Metro Police Department.

An LMPD spokesperson told WAVE 3 News catalytic converter theft is a crime the department sees often.

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