OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Catalytic converter thefts prevented Oshkosh students from riding the bus to school Thursday morning.
The Oshkosh Area School District said the thefts impacted Kobussen’s entire Oshkosh terminal. Kobussen is the company providing school buses to the district. As a result, there was no busing to or from school Thursday for any Oshkosh Area School District students, according to the district.
The school district said families that receive busing were informed of this situation earlier Thursday morning and were asked to make other plans to get their children to and from school.
Thursday afternoon, the school district announced busing to and from school will resume as normal Friday. Kobussen is able to shift its buses that serve other school districts that are not in session on that day. Busing is expected to continue as normal next week. Kobussen is working to repair its buses.
"Kobussen’s catalytic converter thefts first caused a delay for OASD busing on Wednesday, September 28. While Kobussen had made every effort to resume regular busing for the OASD today, additional catalytic converter thefts occurred overnight," the school district said in a statement.
Catalytic converters are a component of a vehicle's exhaust system that makes the pollutants produced by the vehicle less severe. Catalytic converter theft on vehicles has steadily risen in recent years in conjunction with the value of the metals that are used in making them. But, according to previous reports, with the effects of COVID-19 on the global economy and record inflation, thefts have skyrocketed even further during the pandemic.
According to one report, in 2021, State Farm Insurance paid $62 million in claims for about 32,000 converter thefts. That's up more than 1,100% from two years earlier.