Cops: Oregon crime ring moved $22M in catalytic converters

Generic image of police lights. (pixabay)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police in suburban Portland, Oregon, said Thursday they arrested a crime ring leader responsible for trafficking more than 44,000 catalytic converters stolen from vehicles on the West Coast since 2021.

Detectives said they identified Brennan Doyle, 32, as the leader of the operation and searched his Lake Oswego home last week, along with seven other properties. The detectives seized over 3,000 catalytic converters hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a high-end car and jewelry, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Doyle and his associates are accused of stealing catalytic converters from vehicles along the West Coast, Beaverton police spokesperson Matt Henderson said. The crime ring was centered around Portland, but spanned multiple Oregon counties as well as Washington state, Nevada, California, Texas and New York, he said.

The metals inside catalytic converters can sell for thousands of dollars per ounce. The street value of the parts stolen and trafficked was estimated to be over $22 million.

The crime ring shipped boxes of converters to the East Coast and internationally, Henderson said. Dozens, if not hundreds, of people may have been involved in the operation, he added, but declined to share more details because the investigation is ongoing.

Doyle was indicted on 72 different charges, including racketeering, aggravated theft, and money laundering. Police say one of his associates, Tanner Hellbusch of Beaverton, was caught with over 100 catalytic converters in March. He was indicted on 20 similar counts. It wasn't immediately known if they have lawyers to comment on the case.

At least 12 other people face charges in connection within the operation, police said.