Crime & Courts

Have information about a copper or metal theft? It could earn you $500 - or more

Wichita police discuss recent thefts

Wichita police Sgt. Trevor McDonald talked Wednesday about recent thefts, including copper. Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County has launched a new campaign to fight the problem. (March 20, 2019)
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Wichita police Sgt. Trevor McDonald talked Wednesday about recent thefts, including copper. Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County has launched a new campaign to fight the problem. (March 20, 2019)

Theft of metals — especially copper — is an increasing problem in Wichita, police say.

That’s why Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County now is offering a cash reward to tipsters who help catch those who steal metals, facilitate their sales or ignore such crimes. For the next month, you can earn a minimum of $500 if a tip you leave with Crime Stoppers leads to a metal thief’s arrest.

“Our entire community is being affected by this, whether that is a small-business owner losing copper from a rental property” or “the bike paths losing lights overnight where it’s not safe now to walk,” run or bike on them, Wichita police Sgt. Trevor McDonald said.

In one of the latest cases, someone stripped copper wiring from poles that lit the bike path running from Seneca to Sims Park behind Cowtown Museum. Last week, police caught a man reportedly seen vandalizing six light poles in the Towne West Square mall parking lot.

On Monday, Wichita Oolice Chief Gordon Ramsay tweeted that he was in Topeka with Wichita Parks and Recreation superintendent Reggie Davidson “advocating for scrap metal law charges to deter future thefts.”

Homes, businesses and even government property have all been hit. Catalytic converters are one of the most sought-after items right now, McDonald said.

“It is costing our businesses and residents a lot of money,” Ramsay tweeted.

Wichita police Officer Kevin Wheeler said Crime Stoppers hopes the new reward will “put pressure” on thieves. Crime Stoppers is calling its campaign “Find a Fence.”

Cash rewards will be as high as $2,500 depending on the case, Wheeler said.

Tips can be left at 316-267-2111, on www.wichitasedgwickcountycrimestoppers.com or using the P3 mobile application. Tipsters may remain anonymous and will not be asked to provide their names or phone numbers.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.


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