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Area suffering from catalytic converter theft spree

November 17, 2010

Thieves have stolen hundreds of catalytic converters from cars parked on dealership lots in the past couple months, sometimes in broad daylight. Police said the thefts do not point to a lone ring of thieves.


Reports show Honda, Chevrolet and Toyota dealers being victimized, and seven Hyundai dealers from Merrillville, Ind., to Schaumburg have been stung by the thieves, who likely are seeking palladium pellets in the converters. Palladium is a member of the platinum group of metals. 

Schaumburg police responded Oct. 8 to two men stealing the parts on a dealership lot in the village. One man escaped, but police charged Adrian Shackelford, 25, of Chicago with felony theft, for stealing more than $10,000 worth of the converters.


Schaumburg Police Det. Vito Rago said the few arrest reports he has seen of the spree paint the thieves as unrelated and often as drug addicts. "They’re bold,they’re in the pure daylight. It’s cut it and see you later," he said. 

Rago said police heightened patrols of dealerships in light of the thefts, but dealers also must take steps to help, like installing security cameras.


An Oak Lawn dealer did capture on video thieves on his property, and Countryside police collected finger prints at a dealership where 40 catalytic converters were stolen. One dealer reported 80 converters stolen. 

The Schaumburg detective said an area task force has not been formed for agencies to share news and make connections, but that might change.


"People," Rago said, "are going to get tired of taking these reports."