Police have arrested a man believed to be responsible for stealing catalytic converters in the Lake County and Kenosha County area.
Joseph M. Grana, 32, of Waukegan, was charged with four counts of theft, three counts of criminal damage to property, two counts of criminal damage to government property and fugitive from justice.
The Zion Police Department issued a warning on social media Monday afternoon to vehicle owners in northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin.
The Zion Police Department said they took six reports of this type of theft in the past week. Officials warned that other communities like Gurnee, Waukegan, unincorporated Lake County, and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin were also experiencing these thefts.
Authorities in Kenosha County had issued an arrest warrant for Grana in connection with catalytic converter thefts in their area.
Numerous local law enforcement agencies worked together Tuesday evening and setup surveillance where one of the suspects, identified as Grana, was believed to be staying.
Zion and Waukegan police detectives took Grana into custody after they saw him attempting to leave the residence in a vehicle.
Grana was transported to the Zion Police Department where he was interviewed by police detectives from Zion, Waukegan, Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
A catalytic converter converts harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before it leaves the car’s exhaust. Police said that the thefts were occurring in the overnight hours into the morning.
“Offenders are believed to be working in pairs. One remains in a vehicle looking out for the police or vehicle owners while the other crawls under the vehicle and cuts the catalytic converter from the vehicle using a sawzall or other cutting tool,” Zion police said Monday before taken Grana into custody.
So far, Zion and Waukegan police departments along with Kenosha County have filed charges against Grana for catalytic converter thefts. Additional charges from other police agencies are pending.
Grana appeared in bond court Wednesday and remains held in the Lake County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court again on February 13.