“It’s just really disheartening.” Thieves target Easterseals vans in Watertown

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The Watertown Robbers hit a non-profit organization this week, impacting the organization’s ability to help people with special needs. Easterseals of Greater Waterbury staff arrived at the Watertown site on Tuesday morning to find their fleet of 15 vans out of commission. Security camera footage showed two suspects stole the catalytic converters from the vans overnight. They wore black ski masks and were in a black four-door Acura with silver rims.

“It is truly disheartening and sad to think that an organization like Easterseals can be vandalized like this,” said Loraine Shea, President and CEO of Easterseals of Greater Waterbury. “We rely on our vans to pick up the people we serve. They come to their programs here, they are involved in the community on a daily basis, they go to work on a daily basis, so on this day all of these services did not happen. .”

Shea said the Watertown facility provides services to dozens of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who rely on the nonprofit organization.

“The human impact is one thing. The financial impact on Easterseals is a whole other thing,” she said.

Shea told News 12 that even with insurance, the nonprofit was looking at about $15,000 to fix the vans, money the nonprofit hadn’t budgeted and must. now find.

“It’s also a huge distraction from our mission,” she added.

But a local business has helped put the Easter stamps back on the road.

“Enterprise was really successful for us. They found us rental vehicles. You know, rental vehicles aren’t easy to come by these days. They found us 15 vans,” Shea explained.

Services were running again on Wednesday, and Shea said an auto repair company had already started repairs on the Easterseals fleet.

“Watertown is a great community. They’ve really stepped up for us,” Shea told News 12.

You can find out more about Easterseals of Greater Waterbury or donate here.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact Watertown Police.

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