BLUFFTON, SC (WSAV) – Thieves target a Lowcountry charity, leaving their members in “park.”

Someone stole the catalytic converter from one of the vans at “Programs for Exceptional People” or PEP in Bluffton.

The vans are used to transport members, who have special needs, to and from the center every day.

The thieves hit the Sheridan Park location overnight and were able to escape the view of the cameras.

The criminals not only took the part but also damaged the transmission in the process.

“We transport from home to PEP and from PEP right to home so in order for us to survive to get our members here, we need our vans,” explains Tim Thayer, Operations Manager for PEP. “So taking one van out of the equation puts a real hardship on us.”

Beaufort County Sheriffs are investigating the crime.

It was back in 2020 that someone cut off a lock to a trailer at PEP and stole all the agency’s lawn equipment which members used to make money and support the programs.

Generous donations allowed PEP to buy new equipment and continue their work.

Replacing this van part and repairing the transmission damage will cost about $4000 to fix.

PEP plans to try and raise the money or redirect funds from other programs.