Medford catalytic converter theft ring leader arrested

MEDFORD, Ore. —A multi-year investigation into an organized crime ring involved in catalytic converter theft, has ended with an arrest.

Medford Police say it identified the suspect purchasing the catalytic converters last year.  It was finally able to put the pieces together after the Oregon Department of Justice was investigating the same suspect in the Portland area.

A catalytic converter theft ring has come to an end. Medford Police arresting 25-year-old Cedrus Jahson King following a multi-year investigation.

“It was kind of a vicious cycle we feel that this suspect was a key player locally,” said MPD Chief Justin Ivens.

The investigation involved searches in three locations including a home on the 300 block of Alice Street and a warehouse on the 1500 block of Sage Road as well as a home in Bend. Police found almost 7,000 pounds of catalytic converters, thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry, and associated vehicles.

“What we’re seeing locally is that you’ll have an individual usually trying to support some type of drug habit, a gambling addiction whatever it may be they have the ability to get under a vehicle and have these out in short order and they steal them to this gentleman who ships it out of the state,” said Chief Ivens.

Police say King was at the top of an organized crime ring associated with the catalytic converter thefts. He’s believed to have trafficked over 28,000 of them since 2021 with an estimated street value of $7 million.

MPD says over the last few years it averaged well over 50 to 100 reported thefts per year, mirroring national trends.  It’s a story we’ve repeatedly covered. The legislature even created a law requiring scrap metal yards to only purchase them from licensed commercial sellers, or the car’s owner.

Back in 2020 MPD Lt Mike Budreau shared, “it costs a lot of money to get this repaired. Usually, these catalytic converters cost around $1000, and if they damage other parts of the car, it’s going to be even more money.”

The metals are valuable, and only take minutes to steal. Chief Ivens says King is now charged with racketeering, aggravated theft, and unlawful purchasing among other charges.

“We hope that this really sends a message that this really deters people from wanting to get into this line of business,” said Chief Ivens.

To protect yourself against catalytic converter theft, you can get your VIN number stamped on your converter so police can trace it to a specific vehicle. You can also buy kits to make it harder for thieves to remove them.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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