12 catalytic converters recovered after theft crew crashes in Uptown, police say

A catalytic converter theft crew crashed a stolen car in Uptown shortly after witnesses saw them stealing car parts in Andersonville and Bowmanville this morning, according to CPD records. The suspects ran away before police arrived, but cops did find 12 stolen catalytic converters inside their crashed Ford Mustang, a CPD spokesperson said. CWBChicago reported on April 5 and April 26 that police were looking for a white Ford Mustang in connection with an ongoing catalytic converter theft pattern across the North Side.

Around 5 a.m. Saturday, witnesses reported seeing two men riding around in a white Mustang, stealing catalytic converters on the 5200 block of North Damen and nearby side streets. Police went to the area and one officer said the Mustang pulled a U-turn directly in front of her near Winchester and Balmoral a few minutes later. She said she lost the car as it traveled near Clark and Farragut.

But the car didn’t go missing for long — it crashed into three parked cars on the 5000 block of North Marine Drive around 5:40 a.m., according to a police report. Officers determined the car was stolen near Midway Airport on March 17, a CPD spokesperson said. The license plates on the car, which were issued in Michigan, were reported stolen separately.

Witnesses said two men dressed in all black clothing got out of the car and ran toward Lawrence Avenue after they crashed. Cops found saws and other tools inside the Mustang along with 12 catalytic converters that had been sawed from vehicles, police said.

In early April, police warned that a two-man theft crew was stealing catalytic converters in Lakeview and Uptown. Witnesses said those men were traveling in a white Mustang. Police issued another community alert about catalytic converter thefts in Lincoln Park, Old Town, and the Gold Coast in late April. Once again, witnesses saw a white Mustang leaving some of the scenes.

But other cars have also been linked to the ongoing theft problem. Witnesses saw thieves using an old silver Acura as they stole car parts on the 1900 block of West Warner and again on the 1500 block of West Waveland between 2:45 a.m. and 3:15 a.m. Thursday, according to CPD reports.

CWBChicago reported in February that catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across the country as the value of precious metals they contain skyrocket.

You probably already know that converter thieves use saws to remove catalytic converters from under vehicles and then sell the devices at scrapyards or on the black market for $100 to $200 each. The converters, which reduce harmful emissions, are especially valuable because they contain small amounts of expensive metals.

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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