A Bend man is one of 14 people indicted in a multi-state theft ring that trafficked more than 44,000 stolen catalytic converters since 2021 from up and down the West Coast, police said Friday.
According to Beaverton Police, the investigation centered in the Portland metro area, but spanned over six Oregon counties. It also reached Washington, California, Nevada, Texas and New York. The street value of the parts stolen and trafficked was estimated to be over $22 million.
The fourteen people who were indicted face charges of Racketeering, Aggravated Theft, and Money Laundering.
Beaverton Police Public Information Officer Matt Henderson identified one of them as Casey T. Smith, 32, of Bend. He’s facing charges of Racketeering and two counts of 1st Degree Aggravated Theft.
Henderson described Smith as the head of the Deschutes County arm of the operation.
“We know that he received catalytic converters that had been stolen in Bend and stolen in Madras and was bringing them up to Portland from where they were ultimately shipped off to the East Coast,” said Henderson.
According to Washington County court documents, the racketeering charge indicates Smith was associated with accused ring leader Brennan Patrick Doyle of Lake Oswego along with several others. The charge involves activities spanning from January 1, 2021 to July 28, 2022.
Smith is also accused of theft of catalytic converters in Washington County sometime around June 16 and July 13, according to the court documents.
Detectives searched Doyle’s Lake Oswego home and seven other properties last week, Beaverton Police said, resulting in the seizure of 3,000 catalytic converters, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a high-end vehicle and jewelry.
Catalytic converter thefts have grown across the country due to the valuable metals used to make them, including rhodium, platinum and palladium. They are widely used in hybrid vehicles.
According to the website moneymetals.com, an ounce of rhodium is worth $14,900 per ounce. Palladium is at $2,282 per ounce and platinum is at $975 per ounce.