Police Alert: Catalytic Converter Thieves Return To N. Side

Chicago police are warning that catalytic converter thieves have returned to the 19th (Town Hall) Police in recent weeks. At least six cases have been reported since April 9, according to a community alert that was issued by Area North detectives.

Police said the thefts have been taking place on residential streets, usually during overnight hours. The six cases listed in the alert were reported in:

• the 1000 block of West Byron between 7:15 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. on April 9
• the 1900 block of West Waveland sometime between April 18 and April 20
• the 1700 block of West Cornelia between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on April 21
• the 1500 block of West Wilson sometime on April 27 or 28
• the 3400 block of North Wolcott sometime between April 24 and 27
• the 4700 block of North Leaving between 2:45 a.m. and 3 a.m. on May 1.

Approximate locations of incidents listed in a police alert

No offender descriptions were offered in the police alert. Anyone with information about the latest thefts is asked to call Area North at 312-744-8263.


Thieves love stealing catalytic converters because the parts contain expensive metals including platinum and palladium that can demand payments of $100 to $200 at scrap yards.

SUVs are often targeted because their high ground clearance makes it easier to access the undercarriage with a saw.

Victims almost never know that their catalytic converter has been stolen until they start their car. That’s when they’ll be startled by a loud, roaring sound of their freshly-unmuffled engine.

Some suggestions to make it more difficult to steal your catalytic converter include:

• Welding the converter’s bolts in place or having the bolt heads cut off to make removal nearly impossible 

• Having your license plate number engraved on the part to make resale more difficult
• Always park your car in a garage, if available. If not, consider parking with the driver’s side next to the curb. 

• Install a catalytic converter theft prevention kit that essentially places a cage around the part, making theft impossible

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com