Portland man arrested with 26 stolen catalytic converters

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 4:53 PM PDT
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TOLEDO Wash. (KPTV) – A Portland man is accused of stealing 26 catalytic converters from a Toledo, Washington business.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded July 13 to reports of someone entering a business and stealing the catalytic converters off of 26 new trucks overnight.

Surveillance footage showed the suspect leaving through a fence with the converters in a garbage can. On the same surveillance footage, deputies witnessed a Washington State Patrol vehicle slowing down before heading in the direction of the suspect.

A deputy with the LCSO followed up on the incident with a WSP trooper and learned the trooper had attempted to contact an empty vehicle on the roadway shoulder near the business shortly after the moments shown in the surveillance footage. The trooper collected the vehicle information which was passed along.

The same vehicle was later identified in Cowlitz County where a WSP trooper found the suspect, Jesse Vaidabid Jr., 38, of Portland, in the process of cutting a catalytic converter off of another vehicle.

Vaidabid Jr. was taken into custody for crimes occurring in Cowlitz County and a search warrant for his vehicle led to the recovery of the 26 stolen catalytic converters. In Lewis County, Vaidabid Jr. is being referred on charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree theft.