San Antonio ISD police are investigating a burglary at the district’s transportation depot, officials confirmed Tuesday morning.
The burglary occurred Monday night, officials said. Officials found catalytic converters missing from roughly 20 cars in the district’s facilities and maintenance fleet.
“This is extremely upsetting even under normal circumstances, but after such an unusual year for school districts, this is especially egregious,” district officials said in a statement. “Our police officers are investigating this theft, which has affected our Facilities Services Department.”
Catalytic converters are part of a car’s exhaust system and help cut down on harmful emissions. The value of the precious metals used in them has increased significantly in recent years, according to a March news release from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which said theft of the parts has been “skyrocketing” during the pandemic.
Recyclers will generally pay $50 to $250 per converter, according to the NICB.
However, the district has done its best to make it more difficult for thieves to unload these particular ill-gotten parts.
“Over the course of the last month, it’s happened periodically,” said SAISD Senior Executive Director of Transportation Nathan Graf. “And so actually, ironically, what we started doing is we started spray-painting our catalytic converter converters a bright orange. It’s a neon orange, and the paint cannot be removed. It’s heat temperature paint. And then we also are -- we have an inscriber where we put ‘SAISD’ on every catalytic converter. So that way, if they’re sold at a salvage shop, that salvage shop will know that, ‘Hey, wait a minute. These came from the school district.’ And so they won’t take them.’”
The district’s school buses were unaffected by the burglary.
The case remains under investigation by both SAISD PD and SAPD.