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Metal Stolen from Vehicles in Menards, Kmart and Home Depot Parking Lots

The catalytic converters from three different vehicles were stolen from three different big box Halsted Street retail store parking lots in Homewood.

The Homewood Police Department is investigating three incidents at
 Homewood businesses where employees' cars were stripped of their
 catalytic converters, police said.

The metal thief or thieves struck Wednesday at Menards, 17545 Halsted
 St.; Kmart Supercenter, 17550 Halsted St.; and Home Depot, 17845 Halsted
 St., in each case targeting employee vehicles parked in outlying lots,
 according to the report.

In the theft at Menards, a woman discovered that someone had used a 
cutting tool to remove the catalytic converter from her vehicle parked 
in an outer lot sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., police said. The
 replacement cost was estimated at $500.

At Kmart, a parking lot security camera captured the image of a
 dark-colored van parking near an employee's car at 8:37 a.m. and leaving just eight minutes later. The
employee, a Chicago Heights resident, discovered numerous wires
 dangling from the undercarriage of his vehicle and his catalytic
 converter missing, with the damage again estimated at $500.

At Home Depot, two employees discovered their catalytic
 converters missing, with the time of the theft estimated to be between 5:30 a.m. and noon, police said. 

Nationally known metal theft expert Gary Bush, director of material theft prevention at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISR), said these thefts reflect an ongoing national trend.

"Sadly, I have heard of similar incidents,” Bush said. “Any vehicle unattended is a
potential target, although it seems (but not always the case) that the 
thieves go after trucks, vans, SUVs more than anything else—the (catalytic converters)
 are easier to get to. I still try to promote marking items for easier
 identification and for law enforcement to register and use Scrap Theft 
Alert so that the recyclers can be alerted as to what to look for."

According to Sgt. Denise McGrath, no arrests have yet been made for the thefts.

Colin Thomas June 27, 2011 at 02:58 PM
How does one mark their catalytic converter?
Leslie Lynnton Fuller June 27, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Colin, I know it sounds strange, but metal theft expert Gary Bush recommends marking your metal with paint, or etching or engraving if paint is not advisable. He also advocates that you photograph all your a.c. units, lawn mowers and other outside equipment, and maintain a file with serial numbers on all electronic products. In the end, a thief can still target your property, but it's less attractive as a target if it's distinctive in some way.
Ryan Fitzpatrick June 27, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Leslie, You beat me by 5 minutes. Here's another tip according to your previous article: "Law enforcement officials, scrap yard owners and citizens also can register an alert about stolen items and upload pictures and videos with ISR's national scrap theft alert system," metal theft expert Gary Bush said.

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