AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – For the second time in just over a year, catalytic converters were stolen from school buses in Agawam, impacting students in two communities.
Now, one local leader is saying more needs to be done.
The targeted buses transport children with special needs to schools in Agawam and West Springfield. Parents learned Wednesday morning that their children would not have a ride today.
“This has to stop because this does affect these children, and whoever is doing it, they don’t realize the impact that they have,” one West Springfield mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told us.
She told Western Mass News that she received a text morning Wednesday informing parents of school bus catalytic converter thefts, which happened at the Lower Pioneer Valley and Educational Collaborative lot in Agawam. The mini buses were targeted, which serve special needs students in Agawam and West Springfield.
Agawam Police told us that eight catalytic converters were taken. This came nearly a year and a half after four dozen catalytic converters were stolen from the same school bus lot.
This concerns at least one city councilor we spoke to.
“We have always been told that they are increasing surveillance, but that does not necessarily mean that’s prevention,” Agawam City Council Vice President Cecilia Calabrese told us. “All the security that has been put into place just isn’t doing the job. I think what we need to do is, like I said, be a little tougher on criminals so that when they are caught eventually, they are not easily able to get released to reoffend.”
Councilor Calabrese, who is also running for Massachusetts State Senate, told Western Mass News that this is a costly crime, one that taxpayers will eventually have to pay for, not to mention the impact this has on the families dealing with the last minute transportation woes .
“These are property crimes, and the perpetrators probably feel like it’s victimless because they’re just taking property, but they are not victimless crimes,” Councilor Calabrese said. “These are crimes that impact people’s lives.”
Western Mass News reached out to the bus company as well as the superintendents from Agawam and West Springfield, but we have not heard back. However, Agawam Public Schools posted a message Wednesday afternoon telling families that specialized transportation will summarize Thursday.
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