fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Medford police: Leader of theft ring linked to $7 million in stolen catalytic converters

Medford police say they seized more than three tons of catalytic converters linked to 25-year-old Cedrus Jahson King following a multi-agency investigation that spanned more than 18 months and culminated with King’s arrest last week in Bend. [Medford police photo]

Medford police say a 25-year-old man who operated a website buying auto emissions parts was “at the top of an organized crime ring” linked to tens of thousands of stolen catalytic converters since the fall of last year carrying a multimillion dollar street value.

Cedrus Jahson King, of the 300 block of Alice Street in Medford, was arrested Dec. 22 at a Bend residence and brought to Jackson County following search warrants served at three locations in two cities that culminated in the seizure of cash, jewelry, vehicles and 6,700 pounds — more than three tons — of catalytic converters.

King's arrest followed a Medford police investigation that lasted at least 18 months and drew assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon State Police, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, sheriff’s offices in Jackson and Deschutes counties and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, according to a news release issued by Medford police that provided new details about the case.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office has lodged 48 criminal charges against King: two counts of racketeering, two counts of aggravated first-degree theft, 22 counts of first-degree theft and 22 counts of unlawful purchase or receipt of metal property accusing him of an alleged leadership role in the catalytic converter theft ring between Oct. 1 of last year and Dec. 22 of this year.

The aggravated theft charges filed by DA’s office allege that King bought and sold at least $50,000 worth of catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters known to be stolen.

Medford police, however, have a much larger estimate.

“King is believed to have trafficked over 28,000 stolen catalytic converters since October 2021 with an estimated street value of approximately $7 million,” a Medford police advisory states.

The car part connected to the vehicle’s exhaust system typically contains valuable precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, and demand has grown as supply chain disruptions make the metals — and the parts — more valuable, according to Medford police.

According to an earlier news report, the part theft can take less than two minutes, and can saddle owners with costly repair bills upwards of $1,000.

King was the sole registered agent of Core Kings LLC, a business that an Oregon Secretary of State business registry shows as having been incorporated in Talent in December 2020 that lapsed in February of this year.

A website linked to the business, corekingsllc.com, was still active as of midday Thursday, as was a Facebook business page in which King allegedly identified himself as the business owner in April of last year. The business address on the Facebook page is “Medford Ctr, Medford OR 97504.”

Medford police detectives first learned that King was a buyer of catalytic converters in June of last year, and as they looked closer found evidence that King “was at the top of an organized crime ring associated with the theft of catalytic converters,” according to the advisory.

King was arrested Dec. 22 at a residence in Bend following searches of the residence as well as a Medford residence and a Medford warehouse, according to police. Police brought him back to Southern Oregon, where he was booked in the Jackson County Jail that night.

Jail and Jackson County Circuit Court records show King was held in jail until Tuesday, when he posted $10,000 bond on $100,000 bail.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Cohen, who is prosecuting King’s case, issued a Circuit Court filing late Wednesday that the DA’s office will seek stiffer penalties on grounds that, “the defendant has shown a lack of remorse with respect to this offense.”

Terms of his supervised pretrial release order him not to engage in any metal property transactions, not to leave the state, to surrender his passport, and to be subject to GPS monitoring or other restrictions at the direction of the county’s release assistance office.

Court records show no prior criminal history for King. His next court appearance is currently scheduled for Jan. 23.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.