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Medford police arrest suspect in string of catalytic converter thefts

Owing in part to a witness who allegedly caught him in the act, Medford police have arrested a Eugene man suspected in at least eight local catalytic converter thefts in the span of 24 hours.

Ricky Farrell Kenneth Gibbons, 33, is held in the Jackson County Jail on felony charges of aggravated first-degree theft, first-degree theft and first-degree criminal mischief accusing him in a wave of Medford thefts of the emissions control device containing precious metals.

At 11:16 a.m. Friday, a witness spotted a suspect matching Gibbons’ description trying to steal the part from the bottom of a vehicle in the 1000 block of Biddle Road, and called police, according to a Medford police Facebook post.

Police stopped Gibbons near where the alleged part theft occurred. Inside Gibbons’ car, police say they found 11 catalytic converters inside his trunk — eight of which were linked to local thefts reported between Thursday and Friday.

Detectives believe that Gibbons might be linked to “numerous” other thefts in Southern Oregon among other places along the West Coast, but the case is still under investigation.

“Detectives believe the suspect’s heroin addiction was a contributing factor,” the release states.

Medford police have taken 28 reports of catalytic converter thefts this year.

The part thefts can take less than two minutes, and can leave owners with costly repair bills upwards of $1,000, according to an earlier Mail Tribune report.

As of Saturday, Jackson County Jail records showed Gibbons held on $130,000 bail.