Chicago — Early Monday morning, while most of Chicago was curled up in bed, sleeping soundly to the patter of pouring rain, at least one of the city’s prolific catalytic converter theft crews was hard at work, sawing off car parts and threatening a witness with a handgun.
A Ring surveillance camera caught it all as it happened in the Brighton Park neighborhood around 4:19 a.m. The video is a good reminder that these thieves are often armed and should never be approached.
As the video begins, the crew is double-parked next to a boxy white car, which they’ve jacked up to access the catalytic converter. With rain pouring down, one crew member walks around the front of the white car with a gun extended in his hand.
The sawing begins, and a witness emerges into view near the top right corner of the screen. The gunman keeps an eye on the witness as the rest of the crew finishes their job, lowers the car, and hurries into the getaway vehicle, which zooms away. Watch:
Just last week, a Lincoln Park man fired shots at a catalytic converter theft team after one of its members pointed a gun at him, Chicago police said. No injuries were reported. Also last week, CPD warned the public that a crew was threatening witnesses with firearms on the Northwest Side.
In December, an off-duty Chicago police officer fired shots at a crew in Irving Park. And a theft team fired shots at a security guard that stumbled upon them in the South Loop in November. No injuries were reported in those incidents either.
But some people have been shot, even killed, during thefts.
And on November 21, 2021, a concealed carry holder killed a catalytic converter thief who allegedly shot at him in North Center.
In a particularly brazen move, thieves stole the catalytic converters from five Chicago Police Department vehicles at CPD’s mounted unit headquarters last month. No arrests have been made.