A rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts of catalytic converters has Lee’s Summit police asking the public to look out for suspicious activity in and around large shopping areas and parking lots of apartment complexes.
According to Lee’s Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue since April 1 there have been a total of eight catalytic converter theft reports in Lee’s Summit, including an incident on April 16 where four converters were stolen off of vehicles parked in an apartment complex parking lot in the 1400 block of S.W. Third Street.
“The LSPD has been dealing with scrap metal theft for over five years now,” Depue said April 22 in an email to the Journal. “Thieves steal everything from copper to aluminum to manhole covers and catalytic converters and sell them to scrap metal dealers. The thefts are the result of high prices for scrap metal in the global economy.”
Depue added here in Lee’s Summit thieves have normally targeted parking lots because they have plenty of vehicles to choose from and they can hide between vehicles and avoid detection.
“This can be an apartment complex, shopping district or any other place that groups of vehicles are found,” he said.
As for prevention, Depue said there are devices on the market that bolt onto the catalytic converter and prevent it from being stolen. Also, Depue said, local muffler shops can weld steel plates and brackets around the converter to prevent theft.
“Citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious activity in parking lots when people and/or cars look out of place or seem to be loitering in parking lots and checking vehicles,” he said.