Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Police nab catalytic converter thief

Kansas City Police have tracked down a prolific catalytic converter thief, and prosecutors have charged him on multiple counts. Alfonz C. Dawson, 27, has been charged with three counts of tampering related to catalytic converter thefts, as well as four felony driving while revoked charges, and a forgery charge. We continue to investigate more involved in the theft ring.

Since Nov. 1, more than 80 catalytic converters have been reported stolen from vehicles in Kansas City, Mo. More have been reported in surrounding communities, too. Even more catalytic converter thefts have gone unreported, usually by people who don’t have full coverage insurance. It can cost more than $1,000 to replace a catalytic converter, and a vehicle won’t pass inspection without one.

When police served a search warrant at Dawson’s home, they found eight catalytic converters stolen within the last week. We have already traced four of those back to the cars and victims from which they were stolen. One belonged to a cancer patient. Police are hard at work tracing the other ones.

Of the 80 reported catalytic converter thefts in the last two months, more than half have been stolen from the Northland. The thieves struck cars in apartment complexes, used car dealerships, auto repair facilities and even hospital parking lots.

Since Dawson has been in custody, only two other catalytic converter thefts have been reported, both in the East Patrol Division area. This is a marked decrease from what we’ve been experiencing. It’s important to note that the three tampering charges Dawson faces are felonies – more severe than a typical theft-from-auto case. According to state statute, removing a catalytic converter is tampering with the operation of an automobile and is subject to more serious penalties than, say, stealing something out of a car’s passenger cabin. We continue to investigate this crime and will keep you update on the results.

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