CHICAGO — When Cook County prosecutors finally filed a felony charge against a man accused of catalytic converter theft one year ago, it was pretty exciting stuff. In Chicago, the thieves typically catch nothing more than a misdemeanor charge. Even those are usually thrown out or settled with minimal consequences.
But one year ago, on August 25, 2022, Diamonte Saterfield became the first person we’ve found to be charged with a serious felony. Prosecutors hit him receiving or possessing a stolen motor vehicle under a section of state law that makes stealing an “essential part” of a car equal to stealing the entire vehicle.
His case wrapped up this month when he pleaded guilty to the charge. His sentence from Judge Domenica Stephenson? Probation, 40 hours of community service, and two days in jail, which he already served.
Saterfield, 23, was accused of cutting the catalytic converter off a Prius in West Town on March 3 last year.
A woman was sitting in her car in the 1200 block of North Leavitt that evening when a black car double-parked behind her. Then she noticed someone’s legs sticking out from under a nearby Prius and heard “construction noise,” according to officials.
Before long, a man climbed out from under the car with an object in his hands. He put a large electric saw into his vehicle and drove away. As he left, the woman took a picture of his license plate and noted the man’s physical appearance, prosecutors said.
Then she left a note on the Prius with her contact information. That information came in handy when, according to prosecutors, the car’s owner discovered their catalytic converter had been stolen, and it would cost $1,313 to repair.
Chicago cops traced the black car’s license plate to Saterfield and included his picture in a photo line-up. The witness recognized him as the man who climbed from under the Prius.
Saterfield, who was on parole for a narcotics case at the time, also had an outstanding warrant for fleeing and eluding when police arrested him last August, prosecutors said.
Catalytic converter thefts continue to be a big problem.
We recently received this video from a reader. It shows a group of thieves arriving in the 2600 block of North Southport in a white Maserati Ghibli early on August 18. Two men leave the Maserati to act as lookouts while another jacks up a Hyundai Santa Fe and saws off the catalytic converter. Watch: