Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating after they say someone stole about 20 catalytic converters from local school buses.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) – The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man suspected of stealing catalytic converters from several Reynolds School District vehicles Saturday night. 

According to investigators, it was all caught on camera. The district says it caused about $70,000 in damage and knocked 19 buses out of service. School leaders say it has 115 buses so there shouldn’t be any significant delays, but the massive theft has compounded existing issues with their transportation services. 

"It was a pretty quick job, and unfortunately it did a lot of damage to our buses," Reynolds School District spokesperson Steven Padilla said. 

The sheriff's office is looking for the man pictured below. He was seen on surveillance video Saturday morning scoping out the school district's bus yard before returning to steal the converters. The suspect's face was covered by a mask and hat, but district officials are hoping someone recognizes him. He has a tattoo on his right hand. 

Converter thief

Photo of suspect provided by Reynolds School District

District officials are now looking for converters to replace the stolen ones, but they haven't had much luck. 

"Right now there is one catalytic converter for our bus in the state of Oregon," Padilla said. 

Ideally, the district would like to recover the stolen converters. Even though it would take hours of work, they could still repair their buses with the original parts. 

"It's going to take months for the buses to be repaired because of the (catalytic converter) shortage. We're reaching out to the state of Georgia. They have five; we are trying to secure those," Padilla said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office or Crime Stoppers. 

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


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(9) comments


These thefts occurred because of liberal policies. Liberal policies that refuse to hold any accountability to those who are convicted of crimes. So they are let out to commit other crimes, and this just happens to be one of those crimes.

Charles Martel

Disappointing. The inability of the school district to improvise. There are several solutions. 1. They could temporarily install a straight pipe until replacement converters are found. The buses will operate without them, and the world won't come to an end in the month it takes to find the identical converters. 2. Why can't the school district's maintenance department use generic converters in the interim. Mia? Why didn't you ask questions like that?


Why not just purchase electric school buses that don't utilize catalytic convertors? I mean, PPS has raised massive amounts of revenue in bonds over the recent years for pensions, perks, and staff and salary increases, why not invest in electric buses? I mean, since climate change is "real," and we're all going to drown, freeze or melt in the next 10 years, wouldn't it be a good investment?

Charles Martel

On one of the other local news web page, they spoke of one of the school district's new electric school bus, and discussed the $5,000 per year savings they expect. So I looked up the bus manufacturers selling price as opposed to the cost for a conventional bus. A new conventional bus costs $100-150K. An electric sells for $350-450K. I was educated during a time when basic mathematics was taught in public schools. Using the lower numbers, a difference of $150K... to recoup the difference of $5K annually, the electric bus would need to be in service for at least 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a 30+ year old school bus being used by any school district. It also occurs to me that the batteries will need to be replaced several times during their usable lifespans.





Eliza Cassan

Surely no junk yard will buy a cut school-bus size cat convertor? I did read a report that these are all being shipped to China

Liberal Wasteland

I wonder what would happen if a bunch of us..ya know..went over to China, and started ripping off cat converters and shipping 'em over here.


You-tube search how to recover the metals from cat converters. There are dozens of instructional videos.

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