Roughly $700 in cash and gift cards were taken out of an unlocked desk drawer in an unlocked office at St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy, 27 Washington Blvd., between 3 p.m., May 10 and 2:31 p.m., May 18.

Burglars hit the church again not long after, ransacking several offices and unsuccessfully attempting to pry open a locked office between 5:30 p.m., May 19 and 7 a.m., May 22. 

In late March, the church was broken into and had almost $6,000 work of electrical equipment taken from it.

Burglary

Someone forced open the service door of a residential garage in the 900 block of North Grove Avenue at 12:15 a.m., May 20. No loss was reported; damage is estimated at $200.

A silver Windsor 6.0 bicycle was removed from a garage with an unlocked side service door in the 300 block of South Grove Avenue between 9 a.m., May 19 and 7:30 a.m., May 20. The estimated loss is $600.

A blue 26-inch specialized expedition mountain bike was taken out of a residential garage with an open overhead door between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., May 20 in the 1100 block of North Lombard Avenue. The estimated loss is $300. 

A lawnmower was taken from an unlocked residential garage in the 1000 block of Clarence Avenue between 10 p.m. and 11:20 p.m., May 21. The estimated loss is $300.

A bicycle and a handheld router were taken from an unlocked garage also in the 1000 block of Clarence Avenue between 9 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., May 21. The estimated loss is $2,150.

Vehicle theft

*Someone stole a beige 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE, left unlocked with the keys inside, parked in the 400 block of South Harvey Avenue between 12 p.m., May 19 and 8:20 a.m., May 20. The estimated loss is $8,400.

Illinois State Police recovered the vehicle at 4:45 a.m., May 22 in the 600 block of South Genesee Street in Waukegan but made no apprehensions.

Theft

*The catalytic converter was cut from a vehicle parked in the 900 block of Wesley Avenue between 6:30 p.m., May 14 and 10 a.m., May 15. Estimated loss is $1,000. 

*A green Giant Comfort Cruiser bicycle was taken from a rear porch in the 400 block of Berkshire Street between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., May 20. The estimated loss is $800.

*A ceramic chicken statue was taken from the back yard of a residence in the 200 block of Randolph Street between 9 p.m., May 20 and 9 a.m., May 21. The estimated loss is $300.

*The catalytic converter was cut from a 2002 Honda CR-V parked in the 700 block of Wesley Avenue between 4 a.m. and 4:03 a.m., May 22. The estimated loss is unknown.

*The catalytic converter was cut from a 2012 Kia Soul parked in the 1000 block of Washington Boulevard between 6 p.m., May 21 and 7 a.m., May 22. The estimated loss is $3,000.

*The catalytic converter was cut from a 2003 Honda CR-V parked in the 700 block of South Harvey Avenue between 5:30 p.m., May 20 and 1 p.m., May 21.

*The catalytic converter was cut from a Cadillac DeVille parked in the 200 block of South Kenilworth Avenue between 2 p.m., May 19 and 7 p.m., May 23. The estimated loss is $700.

Criminal damage to property

*Someone used a sharp object to scratch the paint on the driver’s side of a vehicle parked in the 400 block of North Harlem Avenue between 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., May 18. Estimated damage is unknown.

*Someone scratched the paint on the driver’s side of a vehicle parked in the 1000 block of Pleasant Place between 6 p.m., May 27 and 5:44 p.m., May 18. Estimated damage is $400.

*Someone entered the foyer of an apartment building and ransacked open mailboxes, scattered mail on the floor, then knocked off and broke the glass light fixtures and unscrewed the lightbulbs between 2 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., May 22 in the 800 block of Washington Boulevard. 

 

 

These items, obtained from the Oak Park Police Department, came from reports May 18 – May 25 and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Anyone named in these reports has only been charged with a crime and cases have not yet been adjudicated. We report the race of a suspect only when a serious crime has been committed, the suspect is still at large, and police have provided us with a detailed physical description of the suspect as they seek the public’s help in making an arrest.

Compiled by Stacey Sheridan

What's up with the catalytic converter thefts lately?

Over the past two weeks, Forest Park's police department has seen an increase in the number of catalytic converter thefts. And Forest Park's not alone. Oak Park, Brookfield and North Riverside have experienced a similar trend in people removing and stealing the auto part from cars.

In North Riverside, catalytic converters were cut from 14 vehicles in a car dealership overnight between May 11 and 12. In Brookfield, a resident reported one stolen on May 18. In Forest Park, at least seven have been stolen from vehicles around town since May 10. Oak Park has seen several similar thefts too.

According to Forest Park Police Chief Tom Aftanas, there has definitely been an increase lately in the illegal removal and theft of catalytic converters, which act as exhaust emission control devices on cars.

"This type of theft was popular a few years ago but dwindled," said Aftanas. 

He explained the logistics of stealing a catalytic converter: "A person has to crawl under a vehicle and use a Sawzall [reciprocating saw] to cut the pipe on both ends of the converter to remove it. It can be done quickly, but it can be noisy."

In fact, a North Riverside victim of a recent catalytic converter theft was alerted to the crime occurring because he heard what sounded like an electric saw.

Aftanas said the thieves steal converters to sell them to scrap yards because inside them are metals, including platinum, that make them valuable.

Catalytic converters can be sold to scrap yards or online to metal recyclers for anywhere from $30 to over $100, depending on where you sell it and what kind of converter it is. 

For unfortunate victims of cat thefts, a brand-new catalytic converter can cost anywhere from as low as $50 to upwards of $1,000, depending on what kind of car and converter you need. But installation, if you don't know how to do it yourself, can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars onto the cost.

Aftanas said he's unsure if all the crimes are related or not, though he said the police department does have the description of an offending vehicle involved in several incidents that occurred on the same day.

Maria Maxham

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