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February 17, 2010; Kansas City Star | It isn’t quite like stealing from Salvation Army red collection kettles, but the theft of parts valued at $2,000 from cars meant to be donated to low-income individuals and veterans comes awfully close.  According to Kansas City, MO, police, thieves earlier this week cut out catalytic converters worth $100 each from 20 cars owned by a 15-year-old charity that gives the vehicles away every year. One program, Cars 4 Christmas, gives cars to people in need during the holiday, while the charity’s second—and newer program—Cars 4 Heroes—gives vehicles to veterans.  In total, some 300 cars are donated annually.  The charity’s founder, Terry Franz, known locally as “Car Santa,” told the Kansas City Star: “Somebody had to come in during the night in 20-degree weather, climb under the cars, take out a saw and cut out the catalytic converters.” Franz also said that one of the damaged cars is a van, and plans to install a wheelchair lift in it had to be postponed until the missing converter can be replaced.  Not to mention the inconvenience to people who had been expecting cars, repairs are estimated to cost the charity $3,000, including labor.—Bruce Trachtenberg

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