Courts & Crime

Kansas City has surge in theft of catalytic converters

Surely the roar wasn’t her Buick LaSabre, the woman thought when she started her car.

Must be the big pickup parked in front.

No, it was the Buick all right. Most of it, anyway. Minus the catalytic converter. Somebody swiped it while the woman was at work. Not just hers. Thieves got seven converters that day from the commuter parking lot at Red Bridge Road and U.S. 71 in south Kansas City.

That guy has been arrested, but local police have seen a recent surge in the theft of converters — which contain small amounts of expensive metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium — for which scrap dealers pay as much as $200. Thefts go up when the market for such raw materials rises.

It’s a quick heist: a thief crawls under a vehicle and makes two cuts, probably no more than a couple of minutes.

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