WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita City Council has given tentative approval to a new city ordinance designed to tackle the growing catalytic converter theft problem.

The council passed the first reading of the ordinance on a 7-0 vote at Tuesday’s council meeting. The ordinance would allow Wichita Police Department (WPD) to investigate and charge those who accumulate catalytic converters.

Police will also be allowed to seize catalytic converters from people who cannot explain how they gained possession of the part. The ordinance is written to protect those who do have a legitimate right to possess the converters.

Under the new ordinance, people may possess a detached catalytic converter if they:

  • Own the vehicle it comes from
  • Purchased the vehicle or the part and can provide a bill of sale, receipt, or a vehicle title with
  • Contact information for the previous owner
  • Can produce an order from a court designating ownership
  • Can produce a work or service order that requires the removal of the part
  • Can produce a letter of permission from WPD to temporarily possess the part
  • Is a licensed scrap metal dealer
  • Is a city official acting within the scope of their employment

A final vote on the ordinance is expected to be held at the next Wichita City Council meeting.