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Investigators Look for Leads in Catalytic Converter Thefts

Police said this week that they were piecing together potential leads in two recent catalytic converter thefts in Tinley Park. Though burglars got away in both cases, they were not unseen.

are investigating a pair of local catalytic converter thefts that they said may be related—one was caught on camera and the other was seen by a witness.

The first incident occurred May 9 in the parking lot of Walt’s Food Center, 16039 Harlem Ave., . Between 12:10 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. the driver of a brown Ford Crown Victoria or Chevrolet Impala was seen by a witness parking near the victim’s vehicle. The witness said a man and woman committed the crime, according to the report.

She didn’t report it at the time, she said, because she thought the vehicle may belong to one of them. A similar car and duo were caught by surveillance cameras at a May 10 catalytic converter theft, police said.

Between 11 a.m. and 11:25 a.m. that day, the thieves stole a converter from a Dodge Dakota pickup truck belonging to a staff member at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6850 W. 159th St.

The recorded incident involved multiple suspects including someone who stood lookout during the theft. Cmdr. Steve Vaccaro said there's always a possiblity that such thefts are related.

Catalytic converters are easy to steal and in demand because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, rhodium or gold, according to Edmunds.com. Vaccaro said thieves typically carry a saw and cut the converters from vehicles—usually SUVs—in a matter of seconds. 

While recyclers can make thousands of dollars extracting the metals, car owners are often left with an expensive bill to replace the converters.

The recent crimes remained under investigation May 15. 

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Juvenal May 17, 2012 at 08:31 PM
<<The witness said a man and woman committed the crime>> <<The recorded incident involved multiple suspects>> Well good thing we don't have any descriptions of the suspects or links to the video in this article. Wouldn't want to get that crime solved too soon now.....
Carrie Frillman May 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Juvenal, I'm not sure if investigators have better descriptions of the suspects, but they weren't in the reports for either of these incidents. Sometimes, descriptions can be vague too. For example, "a white male who's 6 feet tall, has dark hair and was wearing a black shirt and jeans." I'd love a still frame from the video.
Sam Kroll May 22, 2012 at 03:36 AM
"Witnesses reported hearing muffled sounds emanating from the crime and said the perpetrators appeared exhausted."

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