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Catalytic converter thieves hit Minneapolis youth nonprofit

Three of the group's vans have been sidelined.

A Minneapolis nonprofit group that works with underprivileged kids has suffered a major blow thanks to some thieves.

This past week, someone stole the catalytic converters off all three of the vans operated by WE WIN Institute, Inc., which is located near the Powderhorn area in south Minneapolis:

"We had to cancel our programming Thursday night as well as an important site visit that helps to keep us funded," the group said in a Facebook post on Friday.

The vans are used to transport kids to and from WE WIN's various events, which provide after-school educational opportunities for African-American students.

WE WIN director Titilayo Bediako tells KSTP that the theft "really has been a nightmare," especially for the program's 250-plus children.

According to the station, Minneapolis police say they've seen a spike in catalytic converter thefts recently. 

Why this particular car part? As Forbes notes, it's because of the "black market resale value of the precious metals (catalytic converters) contain," including palladium, rhodium and platinum.

Car owners don't know the parts are gone until they start their vehicles "and hear a noise that sounds like an erupting volcano," the website says.

WE WIN is now appealing to the public for help recovering from the thefts that hit them.

"If our community has any ability to support us, now is a good time (thank you!)," the group said in the Facebook post. 

Anyone who wants to help can do so by donating to the group at their website. 

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