CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding catalytic converter thefts.

Since Jan. 2021, approximately 288 catalytic converters have been stolen from vehicles at numerous locations throughout the Champaign County area.

Champaign Police said a suspect vehicle and two suspects were captured on surveillance video at more than one location. The vehicle appeared to be a dark gray Jeep Grand Cherokee with tinted windows and black rims.

According to officers, one suspect was wearing a black winter hat, blue puffy jacket and black pants. The second suspect was wearing a black winter hat or ski mask and all dark clothing.

Anyone with information regarding this or any crime in Champaign County can contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS, or via the P3 Tips mobile app.

Tipsters are always anonymous when contacting Crime Stoppers. All tips submitted to Crime Stoppers are electronically stripped of any personally identifying information and processed by a third-party
answering service. Cash rewards of up to $1,000 are paid on tips received through Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest. Tipsters will never be asked their name and receive a personal code number to check on a possible reward.

The University of Illinois Police recently posted some tips to prevent catalytic converters thefts:

  • Park your vehicle indoors if you have the space to do it
  • If you normally park your vehicle on the street or in a parking lot, try to find a well-lit location in a relatively busy area
  • Car owners can purchase anti-theft devices for their catalytic converters, which prevent theft by making the part more difficult to cut off
  • Report suspicious activity. If you see people working under a vehicle at a time or place where vehicle maintenance would not typically be conducted, call 911 to report a possible crime in progress

Officers also said to prevent all thefts, it is important to lock all car doors when leaving a vehicle unattended, and either take valuables with you or hide them so they are not visible.