2 charged following undercover investigation into operators of catalytic converter buying business

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - An undercover investigation into a Kansas City business that buys catalytic converters led to prosecutors filing charges against two men. William Hackney and Jonathan Hackney are charged with felony receiving stolen property.

According to court documents, when officers did covert surveillance on the operators of Marvin’s Automotive near Manchester Trafficway and 40 Highway, they found they were not properly recording or reporting the purchase of catalytic converters.

KCTV5 News has talked with many frustrated victims over the years about the costly crime. Earlier this year, thieves targeted eight vehicles at the nonprofit Community Action Agency of Greater KC. Since then, the organization has installed additional security.

“We are a nonprofit that tries to help our community and it cost us well over $18,000,” Weatherization Manager Timothy Sticha said about the damage and theft of the nonprofit’s catalytic converters. “Also, a lot of opportunity cost. We couldn’t use those vehicles for several weeks.”

It’s unclear what happened to the catalytic converters stolen from the nonprofit, but Sticha says anything that can be done to try to prevent the crime is welcome.

“It’s great to hear that things are being done to try to stop this,” Sticha said. “I know stories of friends that have had their personal vehicle have the same thing happen to them.”

Court records state an investigation into the operators of Marvin’s Automotive began following a significant increase in catalytic converter thefts around the KC metro in 2020 and 2021. Investigators received complaints that the operators of Marvin’s Automotive were purchasing a high volume of catalytic converters with “no questions asked.”

In a five-day span during the investigation, investigators say the operators of the business failed to report at least 39 catalytic converter purchases and failed to properly document the purchase of an additional 24 catalytic converters. During one sale at Marvin’s for example, police say a white man used a black woman’s driver’s license to sell a catalytic converter.

Investigators say businesses that buy and sell scrap metal must follow Missouri law that requires a detailed record of each catalytic converter purchase, including a copy of the seller’s driver’s license and the license plate number of the seller’s vehicle to try to prevent or track thefts.

KCTV5 News reached out to Marvin’s Automotive for comment, but they declined.