Thieves try to steal catalytic converter during morning rush on Avondale Ave., across from Norwood Park Train Station
by BRIAN NADIG
An attempt to steal a catalytic converter occurred at about 7:10 a.m. Thursday, July 27, near Avondale Avenue and Raven Street, across from the Norwood Park Train Station.
Some passersby reportedly yelled at the thieves and took pictures, and the owner of the car, a red Toyota Prius, later reported on Facebook that a pipe was cut but they “didn’t finish the job,” as the thieves may have been scared away.
The thieves were described as Black and wearing masks and dark clothing.
The thieves reportedly were driving a stolen white Kia, which was double parked on Avondale as one of them was under the Prius.
“It was 7:10 a.m., and the train arrives at 7:20 a.m. There a lot of people trying to catch the train (at that time),” a witness said. He added that he was “halfway out of his car” when he noticed something unusual about the Kia and “ducked” back inside.
The witness said that he saw a “really skinny kid” with a saw go under the Prius, while a second man displaying a gun exited the Kia. He said that he took some photographs and called 911.
“It happened really fast. They’ve probably done this a lot,” he said. “I was three, four cars behind” the Prius.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) said that he was disturbed by the brazen nature of the thieves, committing the crime while commuters are going to the train station. He added that a Saturday, July 22, incident at about 5:30 a.m. in Downtown Edison Park in the 6600 block of North Northwest Highway was just as brazen, as thieves pointed a gun at the car’s owner when he confronted them.
“We’ve been told that there’s multiple crews stealing catalytic converters on the North Side of Chicago and in our surrounding suburbs. These scumbags need to be locked up and punished so severely that it scares the rest of the dirt bags away from committing this crime,” Napolitano said.
This month the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District, with assistance from outside units, has been running missions in an effort to address the problem.
Overall reported thefts in the 16th District this year are up 36 percent, from 534 to 728, when compared to the same period last year. Motor vehicle thefts are up 143 percent, from 185 to 450.
The district cautions against confronting the thieves because in many instances they are armed.
Several pictures of the Avondale incident have been posted on Facebook, while surveillance footage of the incident on Northwest Highway is available.