Suspects slip away from cops as detectives again warn North Side residents about catalytic converter thefts

A mechanic works on a catalytic converter in this stock image. | Allstate Insurance

Cops in Lakeview came “thisclose” to nabbing a couple of catalytic converter thieves early Thursday, but the elusive and seemingly ubiquitous auto part thieves managed to slip away.

Later in the day, Area North detectives issued a community alert to once again warn North Siders about the thieves who saw the parts off of vehicles and then sell them for $100 to $200 at scrapyards.

“Ours got stolen last week,” one local resident told CWBChicago earlier in the week. “The tow truck driver said it was his fifth of the week, and the shop made its sixth repair of the week for catalytic converters.”

“It saddens me that in this beautiful city we have, I’m finally considering joining the thousands of people who leave the city every year,” he said.

But the man also had an idea for local legislators: “Other states have combatted the issue by requiring scrap metal buyers to take fingerprints and photo IDs from the sellers and retain them, much like pawn shops,” he said. “Chicago remains quiet on the issue and says there is no hope of preventing the thefts.”

Close call

At least three 911 callers summoned police to the 3700 block of North Fremont around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday after they saw and heard suspicious activity.

One caller said two men were outside looking into a vehicle. Another said one of the men was stealing a catalytic converter. And the third said a car’s alarm was ringing while two men took parts from the vehicle.

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Police moved in quickly, but not quickly enough. The thieves got away.

The thieves are two black males, one of whom wore a gray hoodie with a black jacket. He has dreadlocks. His partner, also a black male, was wearing a dark hoodie. They may be getting around in a light-colored Dodge Challenger.

Community alert

Police confirmed the Fremont Street thefts in community alert later on Thursday. Detectives connected the crew that residents saw with at least two other thefts:

  • on the 3700 block of North Wayne between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 5:35 a.m. Thursday
  • on the 3100 block of North Honore at 3:36 p.m. Nov. 28

Detectives encouraged residents to park in well-lit areas and to pay special attention to suspicious people in their neighborhood.

Anyone with information about the thieves can contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8263 about pattern P19-3-338.

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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