MANHATTAN (KSNT) – The City of Manhattan Parks & Rec is listed as the victim in a police report after someone cut off and stole a catalytic converter from a work truck.

The theft happened in the 2000 block of Leavenworth Street around 8:15 a.m. Monday. The estimated loss of the catalytic converter was $975.

In April, the Lawrence Police Department tweeted that it is dealing with an increased number of catalytic converter thefts. The department, at the time, said it was averaging about 10 reports a month since the beginning of the year.

“These are extremely frustrating crimes for victims because the cost to replace the converter is so expensive,” Sergeant Rob Murray of the Lawrence Police Department said in April.

Last year, in an effort to slow down the theft of catalytic converters, the Topeka Police Department distributed 100 catalytic converter labels to stop the wave of thefts that were happening in 2021.

The number of reported catalytic converter thefts rose from 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021 — a staggering 1,215% increase, according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Here are the top targets for thieves nationwide, according to CARFAX.

  • 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks (F-150, F-250, etc.)
  • 1989-2020 Honda Accord
  • 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
  • 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans
  • 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks
  • 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
  • 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
  • 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
  • 2011-17 Chrysler 200
  • 2001-21 Toyota Prius

Experts and law enforcement officials explain the measures residents can take to protect their vehicles from these robberies. 

  • Park in areas where your vehicle will be seen most easily by pedestrians. For example, park vehicles in secured, alarmed and well-lit areas 
  • Park defensively. Park high-profile vehicles so they are surrounded by low ground-clearance vehicles. This may deter thieves by making it harder for them to access the most vulnerable targets
  • Install a catalytic converter protection device that will clamp around the converter

Catalytic converters are a part of the exhaust system located on the underside of a car. Topeka police said they have seen thieves targeting cars parked at churches and nonprofits. They have also seen businesses with large vans and trucks targeted. According to Allstate, thieves take the catalytic converters because they contain precious metals and can sell for around $200 at scrap yards. Thieves also often target taller vehicles, like trucks or SUVs, because they can get underneath easily.

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Anyone with information can contact RCPD or the Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers. Using the Crime Stoppers service can allow you to remain anonymous and could qualify you for a cash reward of up to $1,000.