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Man shot, wounded trying to stop catalytic converter theft in West Rogers Park

Catalytic converter thieves shoot West Rogers Park car owner
Catalytic converter thieves shoot West Rogers Park car owner 02:17

CHICAGO (CBS) --  Someone else has been shot in Chicago over a catalytic converter theft – this time in West Rogers Park.

CBS 2's Tara Molina talked with people who woke up to gunfire Monday morning. The shots were fired feet from their bedrooms.

The shooting happened at 6 a.m. Monday in the 7200 block of North Oakley Avenue, just north of Touhy Avenue. Police said a 54-year-old man saw a man underneath his Toyota Prius.

The man walked up to several people near the car. Then, one man fired at the victim several times before they all ran away.

"I mean, it's scary – you know?" said Lauren Bradach, "and it was over a car part too - which is ridiculous."

Bullet holes were left in the sport-utility vehicle parked outside Bradach's home. Her family woke up to the shots Monday morning.

"I heard some bangs and I assumed it was gunshots, so I went and got the kids," Bradach said. "We went and hid in the stairwell."

Bradach is thankful she and her kids are OK.

"The kids were really scared," she said.

She is also thankful for the fact that the rain washed away what police and first responders didn't.

"Bullets in the street and a trail of blood like right outside my front door," Bradach said.

West Rogers Park car owner shot by catalytic converter thieves 02:29

The man whose car was targeted was shot twice. The thieves then ran – leaving the car jacked up and bloodied.

Witnesses said first responders got to the scene within minutes. The victim as rushed to AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and was reported in fair condition.

Catalytic converter theft is not a new problem, but it's a worsening one.  Insurance claims on replacements are at all-time highs in Illinois.

According to State Farm, catalytic converter claims are up to $3.5 million in Illinois this year.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown didn't talk specifics Monday, but he did address the spiking theft we've tracked closely at CBS 2.

"The prices of - I forget the name of the metal, rhodium - has really driven catalytic converter thefts," he said.

This attempted theft is the second in weeks involving a shooting. We told you about the attempted theft on Oakdale Avenue near Leavitt Street in North Center - where the victim shot back - less than two weeks ago.

Molina is told Chicago Police are still investigating that case, and there are still no arrests.

"Hopefully they can get him quickly and you know, we don't have to deal with something like that again," Bradach said.

We are told the victim in the latest case in West Rogers Park was visiting the neighborhood - and he was able to get into the ambulance himself.

Police were still investigating the case late Monday. No one is in custody.

"It could be any street around here, unfortunately," Bradach said.

CARFAX has published lists of the vehicles most targeted for catalytic converter thefts by region. This is the list for the Midwest:

  1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series 
  2. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
  3. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
  4. 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
  5. 2008-14 Dodge Avenger
  6. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
  7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
  8. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
  9. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
  10. 1989-2020 Honda Accord

Meanwhile, here are some tips on preventing catalytic converter thefts from the Insurance Information Institute:

• Park in well-lit areas close to public entrances;

• Regularly move your car's spot or use a closed garage;

• Install an anti-theft device;

• Install motion-sensitive lights and cameras in your parking area;

• Paint your catalytic converter to deter buyers – some local police departments even offer free programs for painting.

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