Thief targets Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gaston, kids suffer

Parts stolen from Boys & Girls Club vans

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - A Gaston County organization that devotes time and resources into its kids has been set back. This is after someone stole the catalytic converters off some vans that The Boys and Girls Club use every day.

The vans that were ruined are in the shop, and CEO Chad Melvin is hoping they’ll be fixed and ready to go by Wednesday. In the meantime, Melvin says he’s considering getting surveillance cameras for the parking lot for added security.

The kids that Chad Melvin gets to see every day after the final school bell rings, have stories to tell that most could not imagine.

“We have no idea what these children go through at night time,” Melvin said.

So when it comes to spending the late afternoons at the Boys and Girls Club – it’s a space that serves as a safe haven for the kids. Homework gets done, snacks are handed out and the students are put in programs where they can have fun while learning what it takes to become the best version of themselves.

“We do know that they love coming to the club and they respect the club,” Melvin added.

But for now, kids are being forced to spend less time at the club.

“I’m devastated. It hurts to see that,” said Melvin.

Someone ruined three vans the Boy and Girls Club uses every day by stealing the catalytic converters right off of them. The club is now down to two vans which makes it impossible to pick students up from school on time. The kids are having to stand outside for at least an hour before a driver can come get them.

Melvin doesn’t believe that whoever stole the equipment understands the magnitude of what their actions have caused.

“I don’t think they understand. I’m not sure why they would do this. I haven’t even looked… I think a catalytic converter has some copper in it so they might have solid it for the copper,” Melvin said.

So in theory, the thieves didn’t just steal pieces of equipment, they stole from kids who already come from low income areas.

Police officers suspect that whoever did this is trying to make money off the pieces, but it’s illegal to sell used catalytic converters to scrap yards in North Carolina. Officers will be patrolling the parking lot to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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