14 indicted after investigation into organized catalytic converter trafficking ring

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 8:41 AM PDT
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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - With the rise of catalytic converters, the Beaverton City Police began an investigation into the trafficking of stolen catalytic converters in late 2021, which ended last week. The investigation led to 14 arrests, and the seizure of over 3,000 catalytic converters, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a high-end car and jewelry.

Police identified 32-year-old Brennan Patrick Doyle, of Lake Oswego, as the leader of the criminal organization. They believe Doyle trafficked over 44,000 stolen converters since January of 2021, which amounts to about $22 million.

The investigation initially began when BPD learned about 32-year-old Tanner Lee Hellbusch running an illegal fencing operation for stolen catalytic converters. In March, Hellbusch was stopped by police while driving a car with over a hundred stolen catalytic converters worth about $80,000.

Over the next five months, police arrested 12 other associates in the operation. Detectives said the organization capitalized on the increased prices of the precious metals found in catalytic converters like rhodium, platinum and palladium. Rhodium used to be about $2,500 an ounce but has now risen to over $14,000 an ounce.

BPD said they found eight locations and that the crime ring spanned over six counties and reached into other states.

On July 29, a Washington County Grand Jury indicted Doyle, Hellbusch and 12 other people on charges of racketeering, aggravated theft and money laundering.