Police make crucial deliveries after charity's buses vandalized in Connecticut

The Greenwich Police Department stepped in to make crucial deliveries after someone stole the catalytic converters from nine buses used to transport seniors and provide supplies to more than 2,000 residents struggling with food insecurity during the COVID pandemic.

Video Transcript

- And the police department in Greenwich, Connecticut forced to step in to make critical deliveries to seniors after buses used to provide supplies were vandalized. The thieves stole the catalytic converters from the buses. But they stole much more from the 2,000 residents who depend on them for food during this pandemic. Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has the story. Marcus.

MARCUS SOLIS: And Dave, these are the disabled vehicles. The vehicles that deliver food to the needy. The vehicles that transport the disabled to their medical, their vaccination appointments. But they're also the vehicles that were targeted because of an automotive part that contains precious metals.

There they sit, a fleet of minibuses that look fine, but a peek underneath tells the story. Exhaust pipe sawed clean through. The catalytic converter stolen, making the vehicles undrivable. Unable to do this--

--get meals to the hungry and/or homebound. The buses belong to the Transportation Association of Greenwich, or TAG, the nonprofit group that makes the deliveries.

MIKE MILLER: We felt we had to get out there and make those deliveries but didn't know if we had enough vehicles and manpower to do that.

MARCUS SOLIS: The Greenwich Police Department has stepped up to help with distribution, officers loading up cruisers with bags of food. Inside, another nonprofit, Neighbor to Neighbor, preps thousands of pounds of groceries each week. There's been a tenfold spike in food insecurity during the pandemic in Greenwich, from fewer than 200 residents in need of assistance to over 2,000 people today.

MARGARET GOLDBERG: And now we have the cavalry. We reached out to the police department, they came with one phone call, and we are just so, so grateful.

MARCUS SOLIS: Back to the vans. This is a picture of what thieves are targeting nationwide, the catalytic converter, which contains precious metals palladium and rhodium which filter pollutants but are highly valuable on the black market.

DEB VETROMILE: I know this is desperate times and people are desperate to make money but to hit a nonprofit like this, it really hurts financially, emotionally, in every way possible.

Now, police in addition to helping are investigating the vandalism. They're committed to helping out with those deliveries until the repairs can be made. It can cost up to $2,000 per vehicle to replace the catalytic converter. The group hoping to get these vehicles back on the road sometime next week. We're live in Greenwich. Marcus Solis, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.