Committee discusses rash of thefts of catalytic converters


Thefts of catalytic converter, the investigation of a residential burglary near Elston and Central avenues and the arrest of a bank robbery suspect were discussed at the Sept. 17 meeting of the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee.

Seventeen catalytic converters were reported stolen from parked cars, including five Chevrolet Cavaliers, between Sept. 13 and Sept. 18 in the district, including five incidents in Edgebrook. Additional thefts have occurred on the Niles side of the 6700 block of West Schreiber Avenue, and a witness to a theft in the 7000 block of North Mobile Avenue reported seeing a suspicious person leave in a purple Dodge Caravan.

16th District captain Hootan Bahmandeji said that the thefts are occurring across the city and that a wider variety of vehicles are being targeted than in the past. "They used to be cars high off the ground, easy to slip under the car and then quickly take off," Bahmandeji said. He urged residents to call 911 if they see a suspicious individual looking under a car.

It also was reported that police are investigating an incident in the 17th District in which a man reported that two gunmen stole his car, which contained about 80 stolen catalytic converters. The man said that he had arranged to buy additional converters from the two men, who were arrested after officers used a cell phone application to locate the stolen car, according to police.

It also was reported that three burglary suspects were apprehended on Aug. 12 after officer saw them trying to burn railroad ties near the Gladstone Park Metra station in the 5400 block of North Northwest Highway. One of the suspects possessed a Rolex watch that had been reported stolen in a burglary a week earlier in the 5900 block of North Leonard Avenue, police said.

Two of the suspects were identified by police as minors, and the third suspect, who was identified by police as Shawn S. Busby, age 21, of the 5500 block of North Major Avenue, was charged with criminal trespass to state land and residential burglary. A fourth suspect, who was identified by police as Cameron Seymour, age 28, of the 5900 block of Northwest Highway, was arrested on Aug. 6 and charged with possession of stolen property in connection with the Leonard incident, police said.

A bank robbery suspect was apprehended on Aug. 22 after employees of Plaza Bank, 6500 W. Irving Park Road, reported seeing a suspicious person in the bank’s parking lot, police said. Officers stopped the man’s over in the 3300 block of North Oak Park Avenue and found a note in the vehicle stating, "Give me five stacks of hundreds right now and nobody will be hurt," police said.

The suspect, who was identified by police as Fred B. Telford, age 45, of the 1500 block of 187th Street, Homewood, was charged with robbery in connection with an Aug. 19 incident in which $2,690 was reported stolen from Plaza Bank, 5601 W. Belmont Ave., according to police. In that incident a teller was given a note stating, "Give me the stack of hundreds and no one gets hurt," police said.

Two suspected gang members were arrested on Aug. 13 after officers found a loaded handgun, a glass pipe with burnt residue and an open bottle of beer in their car during a traffic stop in the 3700 block of North Long Avenue, according to police. During a search of one of their homes 110 grams of suspected marijuana, two scales and two boxes of clear bags were found, police said.

One of the suspects, who was identified by police as Richard J. Vinet Jr., age 36, of the 2700 block of West Leland Avenue, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, being a felon possessing a firearm, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said. The other suspect, who was identified by police as Joe Uriostegui, age 23, of the 5700 block of West Irving Park Road, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture, police said.

It also was reported that a 16-year-old male was arrested in connection with the theft of money from a donation box at Saint Francis Borgia Church, 8033 W. Addison St. Due to previous thefts, police set up a surveillance operation and saw the teen take cash from the box.

The advisory committee presented its Officer of the Month Award to Robert Arnolts, Margie Luczak, Manuel Hernandez and William Rickey and sergeant Raymond Cowin for their arrest of a suspect in the July 22 robbery of a Jefferson Park liquor store. The store clerk suffered severe head trauma when the assailant hit him with a hammer.

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