Former Blaine resident sentenced for catalytic converter theft ring

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A former Blaine resident was sentenced in Whatcom County Superior Court after pleading guilty to running a catalytic converter theft ring that likely caused over $100,000 in estimated losses to county residents. He will serve 90 days on home monitoring.

Shawn Alan Bannon, 55, pled guilty August 2 to two counts of second-degree attempted trafficking stolen property and two counts of engaging in a scrap metal business without a license. He was charged with crimes committed from March to June 2019, although the thefts are thought to date back further, according to court documents. Bannon lived in Blaine at the time of his arrest, but has since relocated elsewhere in Whatcom County. 

Judge David Freeman followed the Whatcom County prosecuting attorney Kellen Kooistra’s recommendation on August 19 to sentence Bannon to serve 90 days (274 days suspended of 364 days in Whatcom County Jail). Bannon was sentenced to electronic home detention on September 12, according to Whatcom County Jail booking data. He also was required to pay a $500 victim fund assessment and $200 court filing fee.

Whatcom County law enforcement agencies received more than 100 reports of catalytic converter thefts in late 2018 and early 2019 that were estimated to be over $100,000 in losses, according to the affidavit of probable cause (APC) filed in Whatcom County Superior Court June 2019. A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device under a vehicle that has valuable metals that can be resold. The cost to replace one can be as high as $3000.

A confidential informant, who was caught on video surveillance stealing a converter, told police that the converterswere sold to Bannon, owner of SAB Recycling in north Bellingham. The informant told police that Bannon managed a “crew of thieves,” paying them cash for the stolen converters and warning them to lay low when the thefts received too much attention, according to the APC. The informant told police they thought much of the county’s catalytic converter thefts would stop if Bannon was no longer purchasing them.

From March to June 2019, detectives recorded five converter sales between the informant and Bannon. “During the sales Bannon made clear by his words and conduct that he believed he was buying stolen merchandise,” the APC states.

Bannon also didn’t follow state law when recording transactions as a licensed scrap metal recycler, which the APC stated is “further showing that he does not believe he is conducting [a] legitimate recycling business.”

WCSO deputies contacted Bannon in June 2019 about the converters and he indicated he had “strong suspicions” that the converters he was purchasing were stolen, according to the APC, and said that people stealing the converters were pressuring him to continue buying them. He told police that he would estimate that he purchased 50 to 60 converters in 2019.

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  • Dbnblaine

    Am I understanding this correctly? This confidential informant was caught stealing and it's HIS testimony that convicted someone? Well there it is boys and girls, a crime of dishonesty is legal when ya tell on the other people your doing the dishonest crimes with. Yet another law enforcement "standard operating procedure"that needs to go under scrutiny perhaps?

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