HOUSTON – Overwhelming is an understatement.
A family of 15 left New Orleans early Saturday morning to avoid the ravages of Hurricane Ida. They spent 21 hours on the highway to make it to shelter in Houston only to be victimized at their hotel outside George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The family, who didn’t want their names used, awoke Tuesday morning to find someone had stolen the two catalytic converters underneath one of their vehicles -- making the car virtually undrivable.
This has been a frequent crime in Houston -- but this and other families believe they were targeted because they came from out-of-state.
“I just buried my son-in-law on Saturday,” said one of the members through tears. “I couldn’t even go to his funeral, and it’s just heartbreaking to have to come here and be taken advantage of like that.”
They weren’t the only family targeted at the hotel.
“It’s a huge inconvenience,” said Krysta B, who didn’t want her last name used.
She drove in from Houma with her family and said the catalytic converters were stolen on her grandfather’s SUV.
“He went to start his car and he heard a noise,” she said. “And he said instantly he knew that that’s what it was.”
The price tag to replace the parts so her grandfather can drive home to assess the damage to his home in Louisiana is $5,000.
While the stress of evacuation, damaged property, bills for shelter, and the cost of repairs caused by thieves continues the families can’t understand why they would be targets.
“Whoever is doing this. Please, please, please stop it because you’re hurting people,” said one victim. “You’re hurting people.”