May 10, 2023

Man shines flashlight at catalytic converter thieves, gets shot at

By Shardaa Gray

May 11, 2023 / 11:17 PM / CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It took only seconds, but a Humboldt Park man realized too late that a simple flash of light almost cost him his life.

As CBS 2's Shardaa Gray reported Thursday, Alberto Collon tried to scare off catalytic converter thieves outside his home – only to run into gunfire.

Collon woke up to what sounded like his car being tampered with.

"The deafening sound of a saw sawing through something - followed immediately by an alarm," Collon said. "I jumped out of bed."

Collon grabbed a flashlight and went to the window. He opened the shades and shined the flashlight toward the suspects – as

Collon thought this would be a harmless gesture he thought would scare off the thieves. Instead, someone started shooting at him.

"I jumped back. My wife was sitting in the corner," Collon said. "I said: 'Let's get out of the room. He's pointing a gun.' And her reaction was like, 'Oh my god, Al.'"

They were already on the phone with Chicago Police.

Officers say on Tuesday, around 3 a.m., two people tried to cut the catalytic converter from a neighbor's parked car near Rockwell and Division streets.

Police say the two offenders got into a waiting white four-door sedan and left.

"I waited. I called my neighbors to let them know, 'Hey, someone's, you know, stealing your catalytic converter - but they pointed a gun at me, so wait to go outside,'" Collon said.

The next morning, Collon checked surveillance video and saw not the person not only pointed a gun - but also fired.

"I never thought flashing a flashlight would result in getting shot at," Collon said. "Just thinking of what could have happened. I have little ones here. God forbid one of them ran to the window to look outside."

Collon says this is a learning lesson.

"That catalytic converter that probably would have netted a couple hundred dollars could have cost me my life; could have cost me one of my children, their lives," he said.

Although the thieves didn't get away with the catalytic converter, they still caused damage to the car. Police said as of late Thursday, no one was in custody - and detectives are still investigating.

Shardaa Gray is a Multimedia Reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She joined the team in December 2021. She was born and raised in the south suburbs. She's happy to return home to report on her community.

First published on May 11, 2023 / 5:12 PM

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