KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — Police in several Kansas City metro cities say a quick and costly crime is on the rise. Catalytic converter thefts are increasing once again.
Someone cut a catalytic converter off a much-needed vehicle that belongs to the Mattie Rhodes Center. Staff at the Mattie Rhodes Center rely on the bus to help take young people with developmental disabilities where they need to go. It’s sitting idle until the non-profit pays for costly repairs.
With the help of public and private funds, once a week the Mattie Rhodes Center has helped families who are in need receive groceries for the last eight months.
“We’ve had families who have lost their jobs or who have their hours cut because of COVID-19,” President & CEO of Mattie Center John Fierro said. “They are struggling to pay rent, mortgage and utilities and sometimes what suffers is the food.”
The non-profit is trying to raise funds to continue feeding families in need. For information on how to donate visit: **Could we include this link to Mattie Rhodes: razmobile.com/bdbdb They now also have an unexpected and frustrating expense of replacing their catalytic converter. “The bus is very important in transporting these individuals to their jobs and to social activities,” Fierro said.
It will cost Mattie Rhodes an estimated $1,000 or more to repair the bus.
According to the Kansas City Missouri police department from January-November of this year, they’ve received reports of 638 damaged or stolen catalytic converters.
In June KCTV5 News showed you surveillance video of a suspect using a reciprocating saw, often called a SAWZALL, to cut 10 catalytic converters at a dealership in KCK.
In Independence, police say from September-November of this year they’ve investigated 131 stolen catalytic converters. That’s compared to just 19 reported cases during the same time period last year.
Police are asking everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to 911 and to report catalytic converter thefts.
Independence police also shared steps that can be taken to try to lessen the risk of becoming a victim of these thefts:
· Always park in well-lit areas when possible.
· If you have a personal garage, keep your car in the garage with the door closed when the vehicle is not in use.
· Park close to a building entrance or to the nearest access road when parking in a public lot.
· Security devices are available that attach to the converter, making it harder to steal.
· Having the converter welded in place also makes it more difficult to remove.
· If you have a security system on your car, calibrate it so vibration sets it off. This ensures the alarm activates if a thief tries to saw off the converter.
· Video surveillance around your garage or driveway is also useful if you have the budget for it.
· Consider having your VIN number or license plate number engraved onto your catalytic converter to make it easier to identify in case it does get stolen.
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