TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A spike in thefts of one specific car part has Topeka police warning residents to watch where they park in the city.
Topeka police posted a map showing how many different times thieves have taken catalytic converters off cars in the area. The map shows theft data from 2020, but the Topeka Police Department said the issue has continued into 2021.
Catalytic converters are a part of the exhaust system located on the underside of a car. Topeka police said they’ve recently seen thieves targeting cars parked at churches and nonprofits. They’ve 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.
The police department said the best practice for Topekans to stop thieves from taking these parts is to park in a garage or locked parking lot, if available. If not, it recommends parking in a well-lit area, or near a security camera.
Topeka police shared a security camera video Jan. 15 showing a local catalytic converter thief caught in the act.
Investigators said anyone with information on the catalytic converter thefts could get a cash reward of $2,000 if their report leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can call Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.