Wichita church ups security measures after catalytic converters stolen during service

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:44 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:57 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Wichita church has expanded security measures, installing more cameras and lights and even hiring Wichita police officers to stand outside its doors during services. Senior Pastor Ryan Emmons of Friendship Baptist Church at Pawnee and Minnesota south Wichita, is frustrated after catalytic converters were stolen form underneath cars in the parking lot during services in recent months.

“It’s really discouraging and I want people to feel safe when they come,” Emmons said.

He said a thief or thieves attempted four thefts of catalytic converters in the last six months.

“My truck had both of them, I have a Toyota Tundra and both of them were stolen out from underneath my truck. And then our church bus that we have and then another person from our church lost them also,” Emmons said.

Emmons said with the increased security measures, they’ve been actively trying to catch the thieves, but it’s been a tough process. He said there’s a security team at the church, but there’s not much they can do with thieves striking so quickly.

“The one time, they did it in about two and a half minutes. It does not take long at all,” he said.

Emmons wants people who attend his services not to have to worry about their cars.

“When you come to church, you’re excited. You get to hear some preaching and some teaching, you’re with friends, and you go out there to start your car and your heart sinks,” he said. “And it’s not an easy thing to swallow.”

Emmons said to get the cost to get the church’s bus fixed after that catalytic converter theft was about $1.200. He said he hopes ramping up security efforts will help to keep thieves away.

Late last month, Wichita police said there was nearly 1,200 incidents of catalytic converter thefts reported in the city this year. It’s a problem that cities across the U.S. are also seeing.

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