KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This thief missed the lesson on not taking things that aren't yours.
Clay County Sheriff's Department school resource deputies arrested a man Thursday after he sawed off catalytic converters from the vehicles of teachers and staff at two schools in the North Kansas City School District.
The first catalytic converter theft was discovered about 2:30 p.m. when a Winwood Elementary School staff member found the part missing from her vehicle, according to a news release from the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
The thief, whose name has not been released, also took items from the vehicles of two other staff members at the school at 4531 NE 44th Terr., the release states.
About an hour later, two more catalytic converters were discovered stolen from vehicles at Topping Elementary School, 4433 N. Topping Ave.
A review of security footage revealed the same person and vehicle at both crime scenes.
One of the school resource deputies searched hotels in the area known for criminal activity, according to the release.
The deputy found the suspect's SUV about 15 minutes after the last thefts along with a saw in the vehicle the sheriff's office believes was used to cut the catalytic converters.
After discovering the vehicle, the deputy called for more officers to come to the hotel.
When the suspect walked out of the hotel and tried to open a door on the SUV, he saw a deputy and attempted to walk away. However, the suspect was arrested.
Deputies received consent to search the vehicle and found three catalytic converters on the backseat floorboards, according to the release.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.