Archive for Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thieves target Lawrence Memorial Hospital parking lot, take car parts

September 21, 2011


When Amber Seymour tried to leave work the evening of Aug. 11 at the Lawrence Cancer Center, the Tonganoxie resident turned on her car and noticed it sounded much louder than normal.

She got out and looked underneath her 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier.

“My entire exhaust system was laying on the ground,” said the Tonganoxie resident who works for Dr. Darren Klish’s office at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Someone had stolen the car’s catalytic converter while it was parked in the LMH employee lot west of Arkansas Street that morning. Thieves took the part — in broad daylight — so they could likely sell it for a couple hundred dollars, possibly at a scrap yard.

“They slid underneath the car,” she said. “It was somebody who was my size or smaller, or they had jacked it up to get it out.”

That day, a co-worker gave her a ride home, and Seymour’s husband, who used to be a mechanic, repaired the car later.

But Lawrence police said she was one of two stolen converter victims in the same lot that day, and two more were reported to police there during the day last Friday, said Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman.

Two other attempted thefts of catalytic converters were reported on vehicles July 26 in the parking lots of Kohl’s Department Store, 3240 Iowa, and Walmart, 3300 Iowa.

Sarna said the thefts are common because the converters contain metals that are in high demand, but he said it was unusual to have so many occur in a short period of time. The thieves also apparently were targeting Chevrolet Cavaliers because they were familiar with them, and they probably were looking for vehicles that were parked and left undisturbed for several hours.

“We ask people to be vigilant in watching parking lots for any suspicious people walking around,” said Sarna, who also encouraged people to install vehicle security systems.

He did say police were trying to determine if there is a connection to Kansas City, Mo., men who were caught in Lenexa Sept. 8 trying to steal a catalytic converter to any Lawrence cases. Lenexa Public Information Officer Dan Friesen said so far the suspects were linked only to cases in Lenexa, and he said they were arrested more than a week before the most recent Lawrence thefts.

Seymour said the crime hits victims hard because it damages vehicles and can be a hassle to fix. She estimated her family spent about $330 on a new converter that her husbanded welded onto the car. But she said most victims likely have to take their cars to a repair shop where it costs more.

Rick Bellinger, owner of Dale and Ron’s Auto Service, 630 Conn., said replacing the converter in an exhaust system could run $300 to $1,000.

“Cars that don’t have one won’t run properly, and they won’t idle properly,” among other problems, he said.

LMH officials said they have been warning employees since the recent thefts.

Seymour, whose office rents space inside the hospital, said she has not parked in the same lot since the theft.

“I’d rather they tried to break in my car,” she said. “It’s just as much of a violation as anything. I was so upset after it happened.”


theotherphogg 6 years, 2 months ago

Who are the scrap dealers that buy catalytic converters? They are as guilty as the original thieves.

nut_case 6 years, 2 months ago

Me thinks you are not as so good a grammar cop as you think...

welded - past participle, past tense of weld (Verb) 1. Join together (metal pieces or parts) by heating the surfaces to the point of melting with a blowpipe, electric arc, or other means, and uniting them by pressing, hammering, etc.

KansasPerson 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually it looks like blue73harley's eyes are pretty sharp today. He or she was catching "husbanded" (not "welded") which my not-yet-awake brain didn't even notice!

devobrun 6 years, 2 months ago

Gradually, inexorably we move toward the third world. It is independent of cultural status, ethnic is the hippie revolution. We don't value honesty: So we have Sarah Palin and Barrack Obama. We don't value diligence: So we throw broken things out. Repair a cell phone? Ha. We blame everybody else: My drug use didn't cause the car accident......the lack of barricades did. We don't suspect those who should be.: Scientists are the last bastions of P.T. Barnum. "Experts" have become demi-gods. And the old hippies who teach school, or who taught those who teach school, or make TV programs, or promulgate the new version of religion....don't see that they became just like their fathers.

Hippies, you stupid jerks......We live in a third world country because of you. Churches, cars, nothing can be left out on the street, because we are moving onward.....gradually toward....Haiti.

Happy, hippies? Are you glad that you tore up the values of the 1950s?
I think China is reaping the benefits of our lapsed culture right now. No jobs, no moral values, no reason to do anything with your life.....except take meth and pull catalytic converters out of cars in the cancer wing of the hospital.
Right now, it sucks to be an American. Thanks hippies. Your world has become manifest. You tore down the values that centuries of western thought and feeling built up. And now we just don't give a rat's behind anymore.

So we steal stuff from cars in the cancer wing of the hospital. Let's just join hands and sing....Kum BaYah....that will make us "feel" better when our air conditioner is stolen.

Katara 6 years, 2 months ago

It is pretty funny that he complains about everyone blaming everyone else for stuff and then goes on to blame the Hippies for today's problems.

The Hippies. That's pretty funny!

true_patriot 6 years, 2 months ago

And they probably have ironic retro 50's stuff in their stolen-car-part-hippie-bong-rooms

SnakeFist 6 years, 2 months ago

"...the values of the 1950s."

You mean, for example, when women were subjugated, blacks were second class citizens, only the wealthy went to college, and everyone lived with the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction. Yeah, those were great times.

Oh, and I'm sure there were thieves in the 1950's. But maybe you were too stoned to notice, you old hippie.

shorttrees 6 years, 2 months ago

Why did it take almost 6 weeks for this (at LMH) to be in the paper? It's been almost 8 weeks since the Kohls/Walmart incidents. Did someone drop the ball or did the news get stonewalled for whatever reason?

Jay Keffer 6 years, 2 months ago

Same thing happened to me - got 3 of the 4 converters off of my truck, Started the truck and thought I had lost the muffler - didn't figure out what had happened until I got home and looked under the chassis. Hack job with a cordless sawzall. The repairs cost me $800 out of pocket as the insurance company pro-rated the replacements. Son of a bucks will learn that what goes around comes around.

LogicMan 6 years, 2 months ago

Any guards that would make a difference?

akt2 6 years, 2 months ago

There is a very high volume of traffic going through that parking lot. Not to mention the staff that is coming and going for the valet parking that is practically steps away from the Oncology Center. Some outside security cameras that are are used for survellience of the parking lot could help identify the thief though.

kahsmom 6 years, 2 months ago

Security cameras would be nice to review, however, LMH only has security cameras around the actual hospital building, that look at the parking lots surrounding them. The employee/west parking lot does not have ANY security cameras! It has been suggested to LMH several times to install them, but all they have done is have the security guards frequent that lot a little more often.

blindrabbit 6 years, 2 months ago

I'd be looking for some real skinny dudes, with busted knuckles, greasy hair and a few wrenches.

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