ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Barbara Olson Center of Hope says it has experienced multiple break ins over the past two weekends, resulting in the loss of eight catalytic converters from buses and vans.

“This affects our transportation capabilities. Even though the vehicles are not available, we are committed to doing whatever is needed to still provide the transportation that is required for the participants to have the services they deserve,” said Pamela Carey, executive director.

Catalytic converters are designed to reduce pollutants and toxic gas emissions from internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The devices contain precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium, making them attractive to thieves.

“It puts a big stress on us when more than half of our fleet is not usable,” Carey said.

Catalytic converters can fetch as much as $700 per converter from unscrupulous scrap yards.

The Barbara Olson Center of Hope, located at 3206 N Central Ave, is a charity organization that helps disabled people.

“Two weekends ago we had two vehicles being vandalized with two catalytic converters being stolen,” Carey said. “The next weekend, which was last weekend, it happened again.”

Eight vehicles in total have had their catalytic converters stolen, according to Carey.

“It’s obviously really disheartening that it would even happen to a nonprofit agency, it shouldn’t happen to anybody, but I think for them one, to come back twice to do it to a non profit agency,” Carey said. “Our transportation is how we get our participants to the programs that they should be attending on a daily basis.”

Carey said that they are going to take the steps to make sure that it does not happen again.

“We’re meeting with community resource officer to come give us possibly some ideas of what that might take and what those costs might be. We will be looking to see what the overall cost is to obviously add security to our building in our area. The fear is that they’ll come back and do it again,” Carey said. “I think everyone needs to step up and notice what’s happening. Places that purchase that catalytic converters need to be held accountable. I think everyone needs to take a part in what’s happening.”

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is investigating these crimes. The non-profit is figuring out how much this going to cost replace. Those interested in donating can do so on the Barbara Olson Center of Hope’s website.