Vans used to transport special needs people in Westchester vandalized in CT

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Ability Beyond, a bus service that transports hundreds of special needs individuals in Westchester, is attempting to recover after several engines were destroyed.

News 12 is told the incident took place around midnight on Dec. 21 in Bethel, Connecticut. Thieves stole catalytic converters from seven vans belonging to the transportation service.

Several of the vehicles make numerous trips to and from Chappaqua as a part of programming for their clients.

"As a nonprofit organization, any unexpected expense hurts, and having vans out of service during the busy holiday season has created a challenge for our transport team,” says Jane Davis, president and CEO of Ability Beyond.

News 12’s Phill Taitt spoke with Tracy Conte, an executive at Ability Beyond. She says the theft will have a huge impact on the organization.

“Our bus transports as many as 1,600 people a day and having seven out of service, those seven impacts about 200 people and 50 trips a day,” says Conte.

Joan Weiss, an administrator, says she’s worried about the hundreds of disabled riders who are losing a degree of independence due to the incident.

“You’re just going to be sitting at home, just watching the TV all day long and that's not a good thing. You want your mind to grow,” says Weiss.

Police continue to review surveillance videos and are actively searching for the person or persons responsible for the crime. Bethel police is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

The company plans to repair the vans in the coming months as damages are said to be around $10,000. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to help with repair costs can visit the Ability Beyond website or mail donations to Ability Beyond: 4 Berkshire Boulevard, Bethel, CT 06801.

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