Abilities Unlimited dealing with theft

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Thieves have stolen donations and catalytic converters from Abilities Unlimited.

The organization said thieves have stolen from their donation center six to eight times in the past three weeks; in the past two years, up to ten catalytic converters have been stolen from their vehicles.

“They just take a bag of a box, they don’t even know what’s in the bag or the box, because it’s a donation. They’re just basically stealing to be stealing,” Sandy McQuay, district retail manager of Abilities Unlimited, said.

The loss of those donated items affects the community the non-profit helps.

“It affects us when people are stealing the donations and it affect the community because people are donating to our organization and then someone is just coming and stealing those donations from our property,” she said.

The vans the catalytic converters are stolen from are used to transport clients with disabilities to and from work; replacing those catalytic converters can cost hundreds of dollars.

“We’re a non-profit. We don’t have a lot of extra money so when especially expensive things like that get stolen that’s just an expense that we weren’t expecting that now we’re going to have to step up and replace those, because we have to have those for transportation,” she said.

Solutions to prevent thefts aren’t simple either; Abilities Unlimited has talked about moving their vehicles to gated properties and getting a more secure donation bin presents its problems.

“That’s an expense, you know, a garage door type situation is not gonna be anything that’s not expensive,” she said.

At the recommendation of the Jonesboro Police Department, Abilities Unlimited has added “No Trespassing” at their donation center, which will cause new trouble for those who are caught.

“It pretty much means if they come on the property now, they’ll be charged with criminal trespassing, which actually carries a bigger penalty than misdemeanor theft,” she said.