MAYFLOWER, Ark. – Catalytic converter thefts are nothing new, a type of crime on the rise across the nation.

But in Mayflower, one target was hit not once, but twice in less than two years – Mayflower High School and its many campus vehicles were the heist of choice for a group of thieves.

Mayflower Police say the latest theft happened late Friday night when a patrolling police officer happened upon two people stealing convertors on the high school campus.

The suspects took off into the woods, but police were able to find the tools they used to steal the car parts and the getaway car: a stolen U-Haul out of Little Rock full of converters. Police believe two of those will fit a maintenance truck and band van on Mayflower’s campus that was damaged.

Mayflower Superintendent Andy Chisum says it could have been worse had it not been for that patrolling officer, whose route includes the school.

“Two or three times a night, they patrol the campus back there and the elementary campus,” Chisum said, “so that has helped to be a deterrent.”

This has happened before: in January of 2021, thieves stole 8 catalytic converters from Mayflower school buses, causing issues and delays for the transportation team and a hefty bill to repair.

Police say there’s a good chance those thieves are the same from this weekend, and they do have suspects in mind they’re hoping to talk with.

“Same tools and everything like that,” said Detective Taylor Decker with Mayflower PD. “Once they try and get away with that much, they’re going to come back.”

Chisum says at least this latest crime won’t stop kids from getting to class and he hopes the knowledge the criminals were caught will stop others from trying.