Monday, February 18, 2019

Catalytic converter thieves slip away from cops in Uptown, Lakeview

Catalytic converters are prized by thieves who sell them at scrapyards for up to $200. | Allstate
A crew of bold daytime catalytic converter thieves slipped away from cops on the North Side this weekend after witnesses reported seeing the criminals sawing off car parts in Uptown and Lakeview.

As you probably know, thieves love stealing catalytic converters from the underbelly of cars because the parts contain expensive metals including platinum and palladium that can demand payments of $100 to $200 at scrap yards.

The theft crews usually work in the dead of night, but not this time.

At 9:45 on Saturday morning, several witnesses called 911 to report seeing two men sawing catalytic converters off of two SUVs in a parking lot on the 4100 block of North Clarendon.

The witnesses said the men were wearing ski masks and went from one car to the other, sawing off pieces and throwing them into the back of a gray vehicle.

Police said the thieves were gone before officers arrived. But just 20 minutes later, more 911 calls came in. This time, witnesses reported two men sawing off catalytic converters from cars near the intersection of Grace Street and Fremont Street in Lakeview.

Once again, the men had sped off before cops arrived, but officers soon located the car as it entered Lake Shore Drive at Belmont Avenue. Officers trailed the car without activating their lights all the way to Michigan Avenue. There, the suspects drove around the block and re-entered LSD northbound and exited at Fullerton Avenue. Police lost track of the car as it fled west on Fullerton at a high rate of speed, they said. Witnesses told officers that the car went north on Clark, east on Wrightwood, then back south on Lakeview Avenue before likely returning to the drive.

The vehicle is a gray Pontiac, possibly a Grand Prix, with tinted windows.
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