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Catalytic converters stolen from MEO buses

The catalytic converter was cut out of this Maui Economic Opportunity bus by thieves. Five buses were hit between July 23 and 26, costing the nonprofit agency between $6,000 and $7,000 to repair. MEO photos

The Maui News

Thieves made off with catalytic converters from five Maui Economic Opportunity buses at its Puunene baseyard between July 23 and 26, which will cost the nonprofit agency $6,000 to $7,000 to replace.

One bus, an eight-passenger vehicle with wheelchair accessibility, is part of MEO’s Maui Bus American With Disabilities Act paratransit fleet. The other four 23-passenger buses are used to transport persons with disabilities, youths and kupuna.

The loss of the paratransit bus while it undergoes repairs will be absorbed without affecting service, said Patty Copperfield, MEO director of transportation. The catalytic converter thefts on the larger buses are more problematic with the reopening of school and Kaunoa Senior Services programs, she added. If the buses are not repaired in time, MEO Transportation still can transport all clients, though multiple runs may be required.

The theft of the catalytic converter on the eight-passenger bus occurred at about 1:30 a.m. July 23, Copperfield said. The catalytic converters on the larger buses were stolen between the evening of July 24 and the morning of July 26.

Thieves made their way into the Maui Economic Opportunity Puunene baseyard twice between July 23 and 26 and made off with five catalytic converters from public transportation buses. The fence line faces Maui Veterans Highway between the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum and the Puunene Shopping Center.

The thieves cut through the fence facing Maui Veterans Highway, she said.

“These thefts could not have come at a worse time,” MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe said in a news release Thursday. “We are facing tight budgets and insurance will not cover the cost of repairs and parts replacement.

“In addition, the four larger buses are part of our Human Services transportation system, which was gearing up for the reopening of kupuna activities and schools next week. We will make do, but it is frustrating.”

MEO staff members and a contract security company are monitoring the property, said Cabebe.

Anyone with information on the thefts should call the Maui Police Department nonemergency number at (808) 244-6400 and reference report numbers 21-025629 and 21-025987.

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