Stealing Appliances

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, police are investigating a series of appliance thefts from homes under renovation and for sale.

The thefts are spread across the city and cost developers, like Paul Wenske, thousands of dollars.

“It’s kind of the ironic downside to redevelopment,” he said.

Wenske purchased a home in Midtown, which he has been renovating during the last few months. His plan to put it on the market quickly have hit a few roadblocks.

Among the challenges, burglars have targeted the home three times, stealing the stove and its replacement each time.

“You kind of wonder why appliances,” Wenske said.

KCPD Det. Mark Kepler is investigating the case. He said these crimes are considered crimes of opportunities, because typically no one lives inside the homes under renovation, which makes burglars believe they will not get caught.

“It’s sporadic; it really is,” Kepler said. “There isn’t a crime pattern of exactly just one certain area.”

Once an appliance is stolen, Kepler said it will either be scrapped or sold online.

Recently, police discovered a bunch of stolen appliances at a home in south Kansas City. Kepler and other detectives were able to track the items to their owners based on the appliance’s serial numbers in some cases.

“We were able to locate one stolen item, which led us to other stolen items,” he said.

Police suggested a few tips to help keep unoccupied properties from being targeted by thieves:

  • Install locks on all doors and windows;
  • Ask neighbors to keep a watchful eye on the property;
  • Consider adding an alarm system or video cameras;
  • Write down appliance serial numbers and take pictures of the appliances.