Ability Beyond, a nonprofit provider of employment and residential services support to people with disabilities, reported that seven of its wheelchair accessible vans were vandalized outside of its office in Bethel.
The nonprofit, which has dual headquarters in Bethel and Chappaqua, said the vandalism occurred around midnight on Dec. 21. Thieves stole the catalytic converters from each vehicle’s engine, rendering them inoperable, and repairs cannot be made until after the holiday season. Ability Beyond uses the vehicles to transport clients to and from its occupational and recreational programs.
Thieves often target catalytic converters due to the precious metals – platinum and palladium – they contain.
“As a nonprofit organization, any unexpected expense hurts, and having vans out of service during the busy holiday season has created a challenge for our transport team,” said Jane Davis, president and CEO of Ability Beyond. “We are shuffling schedules and vehicles to minimize the impact for the people we serve.”
The Bethel Police Department is analyzing security camera footage of the vandalism, but has yet to make any arrests. Ability Beyond has invited the public to make donations to cover the costs of the repairs.