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.