Two men attempt to steal catalytic converter in vehicle in North Aurora, witness gets shot while trying to stop theft

catalytic converter theft
Photo credit Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

NORTH AURORA, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- North Aurora Police are issuing a warning on Facebook about catalytic converter thieves and reminding residents not to take matters into their own hands when witnessing a crime.

Police were dispatched to an apartment complex in the 200 block of N. Lincolnway Thursday afternoon for a theft from a vehicle that was in progress, according to a post on the North Aurora Police Facebook Department page.

Upon arrival, officers learned that two suspects were using a saw to cut off the catalytic converter on an SUV when one witness confronted the suspects by pointing a pellet rifle and attempted to stop them. One of the suspects fired one shot at the witness, but missed and both fled in a black Pontiac Grand Prix.

The suspects have been described as two black males approximately 20 years old.

North Aurora Police advised the public that when there is a crime in progress, the best way for people to assist authorities is "to be a good witness but do not become involved or attempt to apprehend or confront any suspects".

The public is also advised to note suspects' descriptions, any vehicle descriptions including license plates and to call 911.

Police say that catalytic converter thieves often target taller vehicles such as trucks and SUV's. People can protect their vehicles by parking inside a garage if possible.

Other options would be to park vehicles in a well-lit area close to building entrances, have the catalytic converter welded to the vehicle frame, engrave Vehicle ID number (VIN) on the catalytic converter, utilize a vehicle alarm with vibration activation, and/or have a catalytic converter theft shield installed.

The incident is still under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.