‘I didn’t know it was such an issue’: Metro seeing rise in catalytic converter thefts

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A rise in the price of precious metals has apparently sparked a surge in the theft of an easily accessible car part.

Law enforcement agencies around the metro agree catalytic converter thefts are becoming a huge problem.

“There’s people like me who can’t afford to just go out and put $500 into their car. It’s not something that’s budgeted, especially around the holidays,” said Amanda Ingram, who lives in Harvard Court Apartments in Kansas City.

Ingram said her catalytic converter was stolen overnight while her car was parked outside her apartment complex.

It’s a theft she didn’t even know was possible. The metal piece is part of a car’s exhaust system that helps filter out pollution. The metals used are easy for thieves to sell to scrap yards.

“My car sounds like it’s like no muffler. It’s like the big rig truck. I swear it’s so loud, I can hardly focus,” Ingram said. “I didn’t know it was such an issue. This is happening not just once or twice, but everywhere around the Kansas City area.”

Ingram’s 2005 Scion XE is just one of the latest cars targeted in the catalytic converter theft uptick.

Since January 1, KCPD said they have received 638 incident reports about this type of theft. In Lee’s Summit, they have reported 146 stolen catalytic converters this year, and 26 this month.

In Raytown, they’re investigating 48 reports of this stolen car piece since March. In KCK, authorities report five catalytic converter thefts in the last two days.

“Literally last week on Monday, I was almost 17 cars behind of just exhaust and catalytic converters,” owner of J&J Muffler in Independence Michael Sevart said. “They keep me busy, but not the way I want to stay busy.”

Sevart calls this an industry-wide problem.

Repairs from the quick steal can cost drivers hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars.

“Even though they steal the catalytic converters, what else did they tear up while doing it? I’ve seen transmission lines get cut and coolant lines get cut and everything else,” Sevart said.

To reduce your risk of becoming a target, police suggest parking in a garage, buying security cameras or parking in a well-lit area.

If you know anything about these crimes, you are asked to call CrimeStoppers at (816) 474-8477.

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