Thief's quick payday costs thousands to fix: Police record more stolen catalytic converters in 2018

Posted at 6:55 AM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-28 09:23:21-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An old trend is resurfacing across the Kansas City metro area. The number of catalytic converters reported stolen increased from 2017 to 2018. 

Police said criminals target the car part because it easy to remove and contains valuable metals such as platinum and rhodium. 

The thieves make about $200 selling the part to salvage yards, but replacing a catalytic converter costs owners about $1,500 minimum. 

"It's amazing to me that people can go through so much effort to make such a relatively small amount of money and they cause so much pain in the intervening time," said John Schupp, owner of Sci-Tech Automotive. 

He said he has seen several customers at both of his service locations come in with car problems only to realize their converter was stolen. 

Police in Kansas City recorded 124 reports of stolen catalytic converters from April through October of 2018. In the same timeframe last year, the department had 39 calls on the issue. 

The numbers similarly jumped in Grandview from zero in those six months of 2017 to six in 2018 and in Overland Park from 14 to 32 over the same time. 

Police in Grandview and Overland Park say criminals are getting bolder and cutting the converters out during daylight hours. 

Schupp said the majority of cars that come to his shops missing converters are SUVs, pickups and other vehicles with a high clearance off the ground.

"It is so hard to crawl under a passenger car without jacking it up — that's not saying the thieves won't jack it up and do it anyway — but it simply raises their profile in the parking lot and makes it more likely they'll be caught," Schupp said. 

Police in Kansas City are working with the city to draft an ordinance adding more regulations on salvage yards in an attempt to crack down on the sale of stolen goods.