Catalytic Converter Crime Wave Hits Oak Lawn

Seven thefts reported in Oak Lawn since Nov. 21.

The underside of a vehicle that has had its catalytic converter removed. Credit: AOL Autos
The underside of a vehicle that has had its catalytic converter removed. Credit: AOL Autos

Catalytic converter thieves struck Oak Lawn with a vengeance, pulling off seven capers since Nov. 21.

A thief left behind a black knit winter hat at the scene of the crime in the 10400 block of South Mason Avenue. Oak Lawn police said that the owner of a 2002 Grand Jeep Cherokee came to the station to report that someone swiped his catalytic converter sometime before 10:41 a.m. Dec. 11.

The owner parked the Jeep overnight in the carport at his apartment complex, when he noticed a black knit winter hat beneath his car. The missing catalytic converter was brought to the owner’s attention by his mechanic, who found part of a saw blade stuck in a pipe.

Thieves hit three cars on Sproat Avenue during the overnight hours of Dec. 8. A man went out to start his car in the 8900 block of S. Sproat Avenue around 7:45 a.m. His 1997 Chevy Cavalier made a noise as if the muffler was damaged. Police discovered that thieves cut out the catalytic converter.

While on patrol, a police officer noticed that the exhaust pipe was hanging off a 2004 Chevy coupe parked in the 9200 block of S. Sproat around 2:44 p.m. The owner advised the cop that he noticed the pipe hanging off his car earlier in the morning but thought it had just fallen off. The car was fine the night before.

A catalytic converter was reported stolen in the 9000 block of S. Sproat Ave. around 2:17 p.m. The owner of the car said he noticed that his exhaust pipe had been cut and the catalytic converter ripped off. Police said the owner was awake at in the overnight hours, but he didn’t see or hear anything suspicious.

Another theft was also reported on Dec. 8, in the parking lot behind Men’s Wearhouse at 9625 S. Cicero Ave. The owner of a 2002 Pontiac told police he left his car in the lot the day before while working his afternoon-evening shift.

When he started his car, it made an extremely loud noise. The next morning he examined his car in the daylight and discovered catalytic converter gone.

Thieves removed a catalytic converter from a 2002 Chevy parked in a parking lot in the 9500 block of S. Kolmar Ave. sometime before 6:14 p.m. Dec. 7.

On Nov. 21, someone ripped off the catalytic converter from a car parked in a lot in the 4900 block of S. Columbus Ave.

Three minutes, two cuts and one saw are all it takes for a thief to steal your catalytic converter, according to AOL Autos. Thefts of the tube-like pipes that reduce pollution from a vehicle’s exhaust system are on the rise.

Catalytic converters are prized for their precious metals, such as gold, copper, palladium, platinum and rhodium. The parts have a street value of $100 to $200.

Unfortunately, repairs for the victim can cost between $300 to $2,000, depending on the vehicle and the skill of the crook, who could slice through fuel lines and other parts as they remove the converter.

dave bird December 16, 2013 at 08:16 AM
now that they are closing TCF banks our chicago trash has found a new way to take what ever the hell they want.i hope i catch you before the police do.
Ron December 16, 2013 at 08:41 AM
Crime seems to be on the raise in Oak Lawn. The other thing that did happen was that Oak Lawn has more section 8's. I am not not all people that have to use section 8 to rent are bad. But the late Mayor Richie liked the idea to send sections 8's to the burbs along with the crime. When the city of Chicago tore down all the public housing, ship them all to the burbs along with the crime. Now see what you have in Oak Lawn.
OakLawnGuy December 16, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Great time to trim the police force, huh?
EOMessage December 16, 2013 at 09:31 AM
Thank you for sharing. We all need to be more careful
Oak Lawn Gal December 16, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Ron where is all this Section 8 housing in OL? I asked a realtor that question less than a year ago and he said there were no Section 8 listings in the computer system his firm use. As far as cutting the police force that is one dumb idea. I'm constantly amazed at the stupidity of Deetjen, the mayor and board.
tmarc75 December 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM
I have two section 8 rental houses on my block alone. 92nd and 53rd. And there are at least two more on 91st. There is PLENTY of it. And it is garbage.
Bob December 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM
What does TCF banks closing have to do with catalytic converters getting stolen.
Glen Kato December 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM
This seems to go in waves. There was a rash down in Tinley a few years ago. You would think the auto manufacturers would make it harder to remove.
ChiCubs1 December 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM
There is also Section 8 Housing at 107th and Cicero behind the Walgreens. It's becoming more popular to have section 8 in Oak Lawn. Although Catalytic Converters can be stolen anywhere. My husband is in construction and he had it take off of his work truck on a jobsite one day. Unfortunately this type of crime happens all over.
Joe Kocur December 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Sect 8- 102 nd Pulaski big project building. 103-104 komensky,95th and Tripp to 95 kostner. Rocket slide park area is all sect 8 dwellings!
Bob Laird December 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM
waiting for the headline" catalytic converter thief cuts through fuel line and burns to ashes"
Lisa December 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Lisa December 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM
FYI...Cook County quietly passed an ordinance earlier this year that makes it illegal to not accept a rental application from a person who has a voucher. An applicant is still subject to the same requirements as any other applicant, i.e. good credit, criminal background check. Any landlord with a rental property is not allowed to simply turn away a voucher holder...grounds for a lawsuit. See the web link above.
Oh, Great one! December 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Rent to a sec 8, when they dont pay wait 6 months for the sheriff to throw them out, spend $5K to repair their damages and when you call HUD to report the abuser so it does not happen to some other landlord all you get is "well you gots ta fill outs da forms and come down to da office blah blah blah!
Oh, Great one! December 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM
..and my wife is in real estate, when they call the office and 'ax if yuz take section 8' and you say no, then you' bez racist and sheeet!'
Oak Lawn Gal December 16, 2013 at 01:00 PM
So strange. My cousin lives in an apartment building around 99th, a few blocks off Pulaski. There was a woman living there who couldn't afford the rent and was looking all over Oak Lawn looking for Section 8 housing. Nada. Her church worked with a realtor who found nothing for her and she moved to the city. I contacted a realtor friend with the same reply - no section 8 within Oak Lawn. The new law Lisa shared passed in August & could be a game changer for all suburbs. Screening criteria like criminal background checks can still be used though.
Joe Kocur December 16, 2013 at 01:44 PM
OL gal- ill bet there weren't any sect 8 available at that time! With the free lunches and pretty decent schools the sect 8ers flock here in herds! Throw the mosque in bride view also in the pic and that's all your sect 8s on 93-94 Harlem! Don't tell me there isn't sect ape in OL
Patti Griffin Conroy Gierut December 16, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Where are the police???
Summer December 16, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Dozens of homes in Oak Lawn have been sold to Ih2 Property IL LP or Ih3 Property IL LP; if you see any of these buyers in real estate sections of newspapers, it means the houses will be rentals. Check out how many homes real estate agent Mary Wallace, and others, have sold to these companies that turn around and rent them.
OakLawnGuy December 16, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Is the Colonial Courts complex vacant now? Looks like it, and I know it was foreclosed earlier this year.
Oak Lawn Gal December 16, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Maybe so Joe. I learned something new...thanks.
Just A Concerned Citizen December 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I was on Mason the other morning and seen a Black guy carrying what looked like a muffler, this guy was on Mason around Mason and 105th. The Car was a Green Honda CRV that he got into and I thought I seen it in his hands, the plate I made fun of because it said Stolen2 on it
Just A Concerned Citizen December 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM
And the funny thing is there is a SIGN THAT SAYS "Neighborhood Watch' That cracks me up.
Just A Concerned Citizen December 17, 2013 at 10:15 PM
and one last thing Great Job Patch again, giving people what the precious metals are and how much they get for them, people watch your car's closely.. NOW
PAT FETTA December 18, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Ok everybody, Section 8 is everywhere in our suburbs. That's exactly what happened, as they tore down the projects and moved them into our town. Our property values have gone into the gutter. This happened when Mayor Daley was still in office and stated "We can no longer place these hungry, angry, poor, low income and violent people under one roof anymore. My sub-division is already trashed. My townhome which was once valued at $167,00. is now worth under $90,000. I don't talk like this but you should see their garbage dumpsters; their left over dinner and women's dirty sanitary napkins are all over the ground. They have no respect for anything or anybody as they feel "We owe them". Their cars they own are NEW. Let's see, free housing, free food, free diapers, free formula, free dairy products when they pop out another baby. Free education along with school supplies. Did you know they also get free computers and internet services for tutoring reasons? Free public defenders (on our taxpayer's dime) when they get into trouble for breaking into our home, our garages, our cars and our lives. I say QUIT HAVING BABY AFTER BABY AFTER BABY AFTER BABY you can not afford. I'm sure as usual this will not be posted.
Glen Kato December 19, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Dave and Ralph. I don't want you here.
anthony December 19, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Knowing Byrd Brain from way back He like anyone can say what he wants The interesting part is separate but equal is making a comeback and is in the best interest in some parts ..Is the guy lying or do we, they ,all level of government need to stop lying to themselves
RALPH MALPH December 20, 2013 at 01:28 AM
No glen . You do want me here . But if ol keeps going the way it is I wont be


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