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Nonprofit charity van latest victim of catalytic converter theft

'Food 4 Souls' van was vandalized in Fishers.
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Posted at 7:21 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 23:37:08-04

FISHERS — Every Sunday volunteers with Food 4 Souls pack up the organization's van with food, clothes, and other necessities. Then, they drive to homeless camps around Indianapolis distributing items and building relationships.

But a few weeks ago, a volunteer turned on the van and was met with a horrible noise. “Our team lead said it sounded like a monster truck,” Vickie Tyner, Director of Community Relations at Food 4 Souls said.

During the week the van sits in the parking lot at Heartland Church at 96th Street and Hague Road. Tyner believes the theft was done during the week when there is little activity at the church.

She said they quickly figured out that the catalytic converter had been removed and she tried to get it fixed locally in Fishers but was unsuccessful.

“I had been trying to call other places local here and trying to get it fixed and finding out that they too had been vandalized and were trying to get their own vehicles repaired," Tyner said.

That’s when mechanic, Dean Couch learned about the problem.

“He drove over from Greenfield, crawled underneath our van and said you not only have one catalytic converter, you have three, and they are all gone,” Tyner said.

He offered to tow the van from the church parking lot in Fishers, down to his auto repair shop in Greenfield.

"I was able to get online and find the parts that we needed, we were able to get her fixed up so they could do their outreach,” Couch said.

His goal was to get Food 4 Souls back to the mission he is also passionate about. That’s because Couch also runs an outreach program of his own called, God’s Open Arms.

"We go to visit the camps and visit our friends and take them clothing, food, we take hot food every week and just the necessities,” Couch said.

Couch uses his shop, Family Auto Repair as a storage space for the ministry. There you'll find rooms filled with bins full of canned foods, clothing, dog food, and hygiene products.

Every Thursday evening volunteers with God’s Open Arms do the same work that Food 4 Souls volunteers do on Sunday.

Together, both organizations are working to help the homeless population in Indianapolis, which is why Couch was so happy to help Tyner when there was a need.

“It was just a beautiful thing to have another faith-based organization step in and say you know what we know what you're doing because we do the same thing,” Tyner explained.

Tyner said she filed a claim with insurance to cover the cost of the parts; Couch did not charge her for labor.