Wichita police introduce new program to cut down on catalytic converter thefts

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Police Department said catalytic converter thefts have more than doubled this year with more than 500 stolen across Wichita so far in 2021. We found a majority of the cases go unsolved.

Police said “catalytic converters are increasingly sought after due to the price of the precious metal found inside.”

The crooked business model is making big bucks for criminals and costing victims big money. Every day, there is a wide range of victims from auto shops to churches. In one recent case, the theft of the catalytic converter from a church’s van kept a group of children from taking a field trip.

“We were preparing for our field trip and realize the catalytic converter was stolen, said Stephanie Williams with River City Church Academy, in Wichita. “Not even a daycare, we’re a church daycare. We do field trips every week with these kids. They were all very disappointed.”

Some catalytic converters have no serial number, no tag and no way to trace it if it gets stolen. A new program through the Wichita Police Department is working to cut down on the problem. Wichita police will hand out kits to engrave serial numbers on catalytic converters. Through the process, you can register the catalytic converter the catalytic converter with your car in a database.

Police said many cases are unsolved because they don’t often have the eyewitnesses or video of the thefts. Along with the new program, Crime Stoppers of Wichita-Sedgwick County is offering $1,000 rewards for tips that lead to felony arrests of people involved in transactions of stolen catalytic converters. Wichita police said Crime Stoppers also will pay $100 rewards for information leading to arrests in misdemeanor catalytic converter theft cases.

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