Wichita police warn public after rise in catalytic converter thefts

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wichita police are warning the public after statistics showed a rise in catalytic converter thefts from vehicles in 2019.

Wichita police stats show that there were 21 catalytic converters stolen in 2018. In 2019 that number rose to 201. As of January 8, 21 catalytic converters have been stolen this year.

“WPD is aware of this concerning increase in converter thefts, our investigators are diligently working to address these thefts and identify those responsible,"  WPD Captain Clay Germany said in the departments statement.

The statement also said that Wichita police "was an active participant in working with lawmakers, policymakers and law enforcement partners in the creation of a scrap metal database allowing law enforcement to identify those engaging in selling scrap metal and help reduce illegal scrap metal sales."

That will be operational in July and the statement said there is another way they are working on this issue. "WPD is working to address the legality of individuals purchasing and storing converters who are not a licensed recycler," the statement said.

As of right now, police are offering tips to help keep your vehicle safe. They said parking in well lit areas so that the car can be seen by others is a good way to start and if you can, park it in a garage. Using security camera on your cars dash or outside your home is another tip they offer as well.

They have become a hot item for thieves recently. Bethel Baptist Church security video caught some suspects on camera stealing them from their buses in their parking lot.

Police are urging anyone with information on the catalytic converters stolen from the churches buses to call crime stoppers at 316-267-2111.

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