NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Marcus Meneese thought he was keeping his shuttle buses secure at a storage facility off Antioch pike. It turns out thieves had other plans. “They cut right here,” Meneese shows us, pointing to the gate.

“Right here is where they opened the gate and they vandalized four of our vans for after school,” Meneese says. In all, four vans that Meneese uses to help children in Antioch though his program “Stronger than my father” got hit by the thieves.

“I put them in storage hoping nobody would touch them over the summer since we didn’t have summer school, and wow, they’re even breaking in over here at the storage unit.”

All four vans had their catalytic converters stolen. A part that most all vehicles have, but are very expensive to replace.

Meneese uses his vans pick to up about 125 students for his organization's before and after school program. With school starting in August, he’s hoping they can get their buses fixed in time.

“These services are needed to help kids in the community and parents who need a safe place for their kids for after school. So, without the vans, we can’t even take kids to school nor can we even pick them up afterschool,” Meneese said.

News 4 has highlighted the rise in catalytic converter thefts across the nation before, and Nashville isn’t immune.

Metro Police say they’ve seen an uptick with nearly 270 reports across Davidson county so far this year. A new state law is working to reduce the number of catalytic converter thefts across the state. It requires people buying unattached catalytic converters to be registered as a scrap metal dealer. It also requires the person selling a detached catalytic converter to provide documentation and ID.

Meneese says that he’s not going to let this setback hold him back from helping the children and the community he loves so much. “I still smile because like I said, we’re still doing God’s work, and we’re hoping that the community can support us any kind of way.”

If you would like to learn more about Stronger than my Father, you can contact Marcus at 615-403-6066, or you can email him here. A GoFundMe has been setup to help with the costs of getting the vans back on the road. 

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