School Resource Deputies tracked down and arrested a man after he stole catalytic converters from the vehicles of teachers and staff at two different North Kansas City elementary schools on Thursday.
A staff member at Winnwood Elementary School, located at 4531 NE 44th Terr., Kansas City, Mo., reported at about 2:30 p.m. June 23 that the catalytic converter had been removed from her vehicle. Deputies soon determined at least two other staff members at Winnwood had items taken from inside their unlocked vehicles.
Then at about 3:30 p.m., two more teachers at Topping Elementary School, 4433 N. Topping Ave., Kansas City, Mo., discovered their catalytic converters had been stolen.
A review of school security video showed the same suspect and suspect vehicle at both schools.
A School Resource Deputy began searching around nearby hotels known to have high rates of criminal activity. At the second one he checked, he located the suspect’s SUV and asked for more School Resource Deputies to assist. It was about 3:45 p.m., just 15 minutes after the additional thefts were discovered.
The deputy saw a reciprocating saw sitting inside the suspect’s SUV, which is a tool commonly used in catalytic converter thefts. The suspect soon came out of the hotel and tried to open the door of the SUV, but upon seeing one of the deputies, he tried to walk away.
They stopped him, and the suspect consented for deputies to search the vehicle. They found three catalytic converters on the backseat floorboards.
Deputies arrested the man, and the investigation is continuing.
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