Once a Target of Catalytic Converter Thieves, an Auto Repair Shop Takes Matters Into Its Own Hands

Catalytic converter theft has tested particularly irritating for Oregon companies that retain loads whole of motor vehicles. Adam Ofstad would know.

He’s the operator of an automobile mend store in Scappoose. For the previous two several years, Ofstad has battled intruders who jack up autos and vehicles on his large amount to steal the precious areas underneath.

These loads are quick pickings for catalytic converter intruders who supply the stolen contraband allegedly trafficked by the likes of Brennan Doyle and his associates. Several very low-stage intruders were indicted together with Doyle, accused of supplying the stolen contraband that Doyle transported to East Coastline customers.

A single of all those names was familiar to Ofstad: Jessie Hillard. Prior to becoming arrested in August by police in connection to Doyle’s catalytic converter theft ring, Hillard had snuck onto the lot at Professional Automotive & Diesel in 2021. The measures Ofstad took to catch him are a sign of the annoyance Oregonians truly feel with home crimes.

Early in the pandemic, crack-ins were an virtually nightly occurrence at Pro Automotive. So Ofstad established up a 24-hour surveillance program. He and his personnel have been armed. “Many moments it was hand-to-hand beat with these fellas,” he tells WW.

But Ofstad before long found out that Columbia County sheriff’s deputies and Scappoose police weren’t even on connect with some evenings (they blamed their budgets). So Ofstad acquired the cellphone variety of the sheriff, Brian Pixley, who promised to dedicate extra time to assure deputies responded to thefts at Professional Automotive at all several hours.

Just following 2 am on April 9, 2021, Ofstad was woke up by a Ring alarm. He drove to his store, and watched from a distance as Hillard strolled via the ton.

A Scappoose law enforcement officer and a sheriff’s deputy before long arrived to arrest Hillard. When requested why he was in Ofstad’s great deal, Hillard mentioned he was “taking a piss.” The deputy located a glass pipe and what looked like meth in Hillard’s pocket, as properly as a pair of Sawzall blades. Law enforcement searched his truck and found “jiggle keys,” a number of saws and a floor jack.

Hillard was billed with tried theft. He pleaded not guilty and posted bail. His trial is set for February.

In the meantime, Beaverton law enforcement say, Hillard was selling stolen catalytic converters to a single of Doyle’s big suppliers, Tanner Hellbusch.

Go through the address tale: Inside the criminal offense ring that delivered hundreds of Oregon’s catalytic converters throughout the state.

Hillard was pulled more than this summer season immediately after promoting a load of stolen areas to Hellbusch, police say. They uncovered saws and floor jacks in the again of his truck. He was charged with racketeering Aug. 1.

Even now, Hillard managed to stay away from jail—until he was caught by police Nov. 7 although sneaking into a window of a home in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood of Southeast Portland.

He was carrying a faux New York condition identification card that he’d “paid a good deal of revenue for” and was using to “avoid being caught on his warrants,” he explained to the arresting officer.

This time, he stays in custody.

Meanwhile, says Ofstad, his proactive tactic to thefts on his home has borne fruit. Extra than a dozen folks have been arrested trying to steal from his store, he says.

“The phrase is out. No one goes and steals cats from Professional anymore.”