Crooks cause more than $2,000 worth of damage to local organization's bus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- From hikes to creating Halloween decor United Cerebral Palsy Central California help thousands of students create memories and provide them with a better quality of life.

A crucial part of the program is transportation, and board member, Bernadette Muscat, says she was disheartened to learn one of their buses was recently vandalized.

"The transportation gives them independence and quality of life. When that's taken away, that's problematic for them," said Muscat.

The catalytic converter of one of their buses was stolen more than a week ago.

One of the students who uses those buses is Muscat's own brother, Gerard.

The bus picks him up at home and drives him to the center or to activities with his friends.

"We go play basketball...it helps me keep myself active and doing what I have to do," said Gerard.

However, with a bus out of service, it puts a strain on the organization's route.

This also isn't the first time the organization's been hit.

Cameras at one of their locations caught a suspect stealing buckets of gas from their buses.

They've also had their bus tires slashed.

This time, the replacement for a new converter was more than $2,000, a big chunk of change, especially for a non-profit.

"The various equipment we use as part of the day program and the various programs we have, it's an important component of the program," said Muscat.

Organization officials say their Cedar location is too tight for fencing, but they're looking into possibly installing surveillance cameras.

"We are always looking for opportunities to protect the organization and the equipment we use," said Muscat.

Ultimately, Muscat is hoping for an end to the continuous vandalism so students, like her brother, can enjoy their days at the organization.
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