CPD releases pic of catalytic converter theft team in action on North Side

CPD released a dark surveillance image of a catalytic converter theft crew that cops stumbled upon while patrolling Rogers Park this month. You may remember our story about the group, which got away and then stopped at a 24-hour auto parts store to buy a new jack to replace the one they abandoned when the cops rolled up. It happened in the 1700 block of West Jarvis around 2:25 a.m. on March 14.

Chicago police released this surveillance image of a catalytic converter theft team in action on the 1700 block of West Jarvis. | CPD

In a new “seeking to identify” bulletin, police said the crew double-parked a black Audi Q5 and got out with two accomplices. While one thief acted as a lookout, the others lifted a parked car with a pneumatic jack. The driver then crawled under the car and used a portable electric saw with a light attached to sever its catalytic converter, the bulletin said.

A CPD squad car came upon the theft in progress, causing the thieves to scurry back into the Audi and speed away so hastily, they left their jack behind. Police said it had a temporary Indiana license plate on the back.

As CWB Chicago reported that morning, a 911 caller told police about a suspicious group of men shopping for car jacks inside an auto parts store on the 2500 block of West Touhy about 30 minutes after the theft was interrupted. Police arrived at the store just in time to see a black SUV and a silver sedan speed away. Officers did not pursue the vehicles.

It turns out the crew is pretty cheap, according to the CPD alert.

“Offenders may frequent Auto Zone on 2555 W. Touhy in order to purchase tools to include pneumatic jacks using cash and then returning the jack after use for cash,” the alert said.

Police said the group dressed in dark clothing, including hoods and ski masks.

Anyone with information about the crew can contact CPD Det. Brock Merck at 312-744-8263.

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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