Beaverton Police Department Detectives began an investigation into the trafficking of stolen catalytic converters in late 2021. The investigation, which culminated last week with the search of eight locations to include a waterfront residence in Lake Oswego, led to the seizure of over 3,000 catalytic converters, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a high end vehicle, and jewelry.
Police say the crime ring was centered in the Portland Metropolitan area, spanned over six Oregon counties, and reached into the states of Washington, Nevada, California, Texas, and New York.
In March 2022, Beaverton Police Department Detectives identified 32-year-old Brennan Patrick Doyle of Lake Oswego as the leader of the criminal organization. Brennan Doyle is believed to have trafficked over 44 thousand stolen catalytic converters since January 2021 with an estimated street value of over $22 million dollars.
The investigation began in late 2021 when Beaverton Police Detectives learned 32-year old Tanner Lee Hellbusch of Beaverton was running an illegal stolen catalytic converter fencing operation. On March 1, 2022, Tanner Hellbusch was stopped by police in a vehicle transporting over one hundred stolen catalytic converters with an approximate value of $80,000. During the next five months, Beaverton Police Detectives determined Tanner Hellbusch, Brennan Doyle and over 12 other associates participated in an organized effort to steal catalytic converters from vehicles up and down the West Coast.
Beaverton Police Detectives say Brennan Doyle’s organization capitalized on the increased price of Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium, which are the valuable metals found in catalytic converters. At the time this writing, Rhodium is valued at over $14,000 an ounce up from approximately $2,500 an ounce in 2019. This makes the few grams found in each catalytic converter a profitable haul.
On July 29, 2022, a Washington County Grand Jury indicted Brennan Patrick Doyle, Tanner Lee Hellbusch, and 12 other individuals on charges including Racketeering, Aggravated Theft, and Money Laundering.
This investigation was made possible by the assistance of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tigard Police Department.