Vehicle thefts hurting central Ohio non-profit organization’s efforts to help seniors, kids

Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Thieves are making it harder for a central Ohio non-profit organization to do its important work.

Vans and catalytic converters have been stolen from the LifeCare Alliance parking lot, and the alliance wants the crimes to stop and those behind the thefts caught.

The thefts have occurred at both of LifeCare Alliance’s buildings. The group moved some vans from other buildings to a location with a fenced-in parking lot, but still, according to LifeCare’s CEO, thieves have climbed over barbed wire and stolen catalytic converters.

“It’s just a horrendously difficult situation,” said Chuck Gehring, president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance.

The non-profit helps seniors and older adults through various services and runs Meals on Wheels.

A catalytic converter was stolen back in March and the problem’s gotten worse since then. Gehring said five catalytic converters have been stolen in the past month or so. 

“The fact of the matter is they cut them off in like a minute and a half,” Gehring said. “They’re not under the car very long.”

Pictures from the night the converters were stolen are posted on the wall at the agency’s office.

Meals on Wheels serves 8,000 central Ohioans, but some of the vans hit have been from that program.

“We’re not only spending $1,900 a pop, but then the van is out of commission for about a week and we don’t have any extra vans, so we can’t deliver,” Gehring said. “The Meals on Wheels suffer from that.”

Just two weeks ago, LifeCare Alliance was supposed to drive children to a Type 1 Diabetes camp, but a thief or thieves hit the van the night before.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Gehring said. “It just killed us that day that we couldn’t drive these poor kids to the camp.”

The crimes have happened at both the non-profit’s office and distribution facility. They’re sharing surveillance photos hoping someone will see something and come forward with information.

“We are just here to help and I would say if you want to steal a catalytic converter from us, no offense, if you need money, I’ve got jobs,” Gehring said. “I just beg, stop stealing and come see us and we can maybe employ you.”

Gehring added that the organization is considering adding more security.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Columbus Police at 614-645-4545 or LifeCare Alliance at (614) 278-3130.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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