Amid ‘rampant’ catalytic converter thefts in Chicago, parts shortage also frustrate victims – CBS News

July 28, 2022 by No Comments

CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago has seen a string of catalytic converter thefts.

They’ve been stolen at all hours of the night around the city and replacing them is becoming more and more difficult.

Drivers and auto shops are struggling to make repairs. CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke to a woman who’s had to go weeks without her car and she’s not alone.

With parts hard to come by, those dealing with the growing theft are up against waits for the part and an appointment with a body shop that can help are also overwhelmed.

“They were able to cut it here and cut it at the manifold … it’s gone,” said Warren Preis, who runs an auto body shop in the Uptown neighborhood.

Cut, stolen and sold on the black market for internal precious metal. With a theft problem growing, there are more and more catalytic converter-less care in Chicago and across the state.

Data from State Farm show the insurance company has paid out $3.5 million in Illinois claims this year, $1.5 million since April. They are numbers the company has never seen before. In 2019, catalytic converter claims totaled just $650,000, according to State Farm.

“There’s no inventory on the shelves because so many of these things are being stolen,” said Preis.

“It’s running rampant right now,” he said.

So is the shortage of parts.

“Manufactures don’t manufacture that for volume of cars needed today,” he said.

So with shops like Preis’, who is already busy, people dealing with the theft are dealing with weeks-long waits for a repair.

“I know of one car that’s waiting for at least four months now for one,” said Preis. 

“One auto body said they won’t even look at my car for three weeks,” said one woman who asked not to be identified.

The woman is in the middle of that waiting game and a very rough couple months.

“It has not been a good summer at all,” she said.

Her home was burglarized in May. Her catalytic converter was stolen this month. She’s lived on the city’s North Side for more than 10 years.

But now she said she questions whether she wants to live in Chicago.

She said she has neighbors in the same position and she’s had it.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s any solutions to these problems,” she said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement its “Special Prosecutions Bureau has dedicated attorneys who collaborate with our law enforcement partners to monitor and investigate these thefts. When information supports the filing of criminal charges, we do so based on the available evidence and the law.”

Gov. JB Pritzker signed a measure into law in May aimed at preventing catalytic converter theft.

Tara Molina



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