Catalytic converter thieves sweep through North Side, cops say

A band of catalytic converter thieves has struck at least eight times in the past week on side streets near Ashland Avenue in the Uptown, Edgewater, and Andersonville neighborhoods, police say.

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

Police listed eight specific incidents since July 11th on the North Side in a community alert. All of the thefts took place within a quarter-mile of Ashland Avenue.

Victims said thefts took place between July 12th and July 13th on the 1600 block of West Carmen; the 1400 block of West Hollywood; and the 5000 block of North Paulina. Another was reported on the 4800 block of North Ashland on July 13th.

Three catalytic converters were taken between July 15th and 16th: on the 1500 block of West Ardmore, the 1600 block of West Olive, and the 5600 block of North Hermitage.

The eighth incident took place sometime between July 11th and July 17th on the 1400 block of West Catalpa, police said.

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

Want to make your car’s catalytic converter less attractive to thieves? Try these tips:

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

• Have 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 (this makes accessing the converter a little more difficult). 

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

Anyone with information about the latest rash of thefts may contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8263 about pattern number P19-N-188.

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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