West Plains police arrest two men following series of catalytic converter thefts
WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Officers from the West Plains Police Department have arrested two people following a series of catalytic converter thefts.
Christopher Hogue, 34, and Jason Vanatter, 52, face felony charges for stealing. Both are being held in jail on a $5,000 bond. Police say a third suspect remains at large.
Police say thieves reportedly stole or attempted to steal catalytic converters from several locations between Sept. 17-Sept. 20, including the First Church of God, First Baptist Church, Grellner Sales and Service and Verity Heating and Air.
Investigators say thieves targeted the First Baptist Church, located at 202 Walnut Street, again on Sept. 22. A representative says a catalytic converter had once again been stolen from one of the church’s vans. After reviewing surveillance video, police collected information that led to the arrests of Hogue and Vanatter.
The West Plains Police Department offers the following recommendations to help prevent catalytic converter thefts:
- Park vehicles in a secure, well-lit area.
- Install motion detector lights and video surveillance cameras in parking areas, which may serve as a deterrent.
- Etch the vehicle identification number (VIN) onto the catalytic converter to ensure it is associated with the vehicle and would be identifiable if stolen.
- Paint the catalytic converter with a high heat, high visibility colored paint to make it more difficult for a thief to sell.
- Spot weld any bolts that attach a catalytic converter to the exhaust system or install anti-theft devices, such as welding a piece of rebar onto the catalytic converter to make it more difficult to steal.
- Look for ways to block access to the underside of vehicle fleets with high clearance, such as by parking vehicles with lower clearance nearby.
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