Armed catalytic converter thieves crash car on Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, as one suspect found but released without charges
by BRIAN NADIG
Armed thieves were seen stealing a catalytic converter at about 10:30 a.m, Saturday, Sept. 9, in the 5900 block of West Gunnison Street, and one of them was later arrested after their vehicle crashed in the 5000 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
The 17-year-old was later released without charges, but the investigation is ongoing, and charges could be filed at a later time, according to police.
The vehicle, which had been reported stolen, reportedly crashed into a sign post along a curb on Milwaukee and then spun out of control and became stuck on a raised median, with the impact causing the airbags to deploy.
The car, whose license plates had been stolen from a different vehicle, was described as a 2018 Infiniti, police said.
Up to four people reportedly fled the vehicle and ran toward nearby railroad embankments, causing trains to be temporarily halted. Many officers were searching the area around the Jefferson Park Transit Center.
A witness reported seeing the 17-year-old suspect flee the vehicle and run toward a bush along a nearby embankment, and officers found then teen hiding in the bush, police said. The witness also reported seeing the suspect toss a weapon along the embankment, and officers found a gun in that area, police said.
Two Glock pistols which had been converted to fully automatic weapons and a .45 caliber rifle reportedly were found at the crash site along with two suspected stolen catalytic converters and a saw, police said.
Initially officers responded to a call of a catalytic theft in progress on Gunnison, and then a short time later police were notified of the crash on Milwaukee, police said. The thieves were described as Black and wearing dark clothing, police said.
In the 16th District in 2023, reported thefts are up 34 percent compared to the same period last year, from 670 to 898, and vehicle thefts are up 140 percent, from 239 to 574.