LEBANON, Ill. – A heating and cooling company in Illinois discovered that a quarter of its fleet doesn’t have catalytic converters. The massive theft that was caught on camera hurts the community that relies on them.

Overnight, a thief trespassed onto the parking lot at Bel-O Cooling and Heating in Lebanon, Illinois. A man is seen on surveillance video jacking up one work truck and then sliding under and sawing off its two catalytic converters.

The owner said the thief proceeded to steal from 12 more cars. After a few hours, around 3 a.m., the thief left with 24 stolen catalytic converters.

“They hit every single one,” said Chris Lugge, owner of Bel-O Cooling and Heating. “All the tooling, all the pieces that are on these trucks, these trucks are mobile shops… It puts a huge kink in the scheduling, we had a whole lot, especially with how cold it is, we have a whole lot of calls.”

This isn’t the first time someone has stolen converters from the company. In December, converters were taken from Bel-O.

“They couldn’t have picked a worse time to do this,” Lugge said.

The frigid weather makes the service a necessity for many who may lose heat and now have to wait longer to have it repaired due to backlogged parts.

“They’re there within the next couple hours of when I call, so this is hurting not only our community but their business,” said Tiffany Owens, a customer. “They’re unable to help people the way they need to help people.”

Catalytic converters were stolen from The First Baptist Church van for the disabled and elderly in 2021. They’re also customers of Bel-O.

“We got 48 heating and air conditioning equipment all over the building, and they service almost all of it,” said Skip Leininger, a customer. “We have a preschool here; not being able to get them here might be a real problem.”

The thefts are under investigation by the O’Fallon Police Department. No suspects have been found so far.