Editors note: After publication, a fifth victim contacted CWBChicago to report that their catalytic converter was stolen in the 3400 block of North Racine overnight October 9-10. That location is about a block north of the School Street incident.
Chicago’s roving bands of catalytic converter thieves made their way to Lakeview this week. All of the witnessed incidents were reported between 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., typical prime operating hours for the crews.
Catalytic converter thieves typically use saws to remove the devices from under parked vehicles, then sell them for $100 to $200 each at scrapyards. The parts are especially valuable because they contain expensive metals.
CWBChicago received reports of catalytic converter thefts across Lakeview:
- in the 3800 block of North Wayne around 5 a.m. on October 8
- in the 2000 block of West Wellington around 5:30 a.m. on October 9
- in the 1200 block of West School around 4:15 a.m. on October 10
- in the 1400 block of West Waveland early on October 14
There is no description available for any of the offenders — but witnesses reported seeing between two and four men operating at each scene.
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:
- 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.