A man was arrested after he was caught with a “freshly cut catalytic converter” in the parking lot of a business on St. Andrews Road, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said.
Rudolph Edward Myers was charged with multiple crimes stemming from the Feb. 28 incident, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
The 50-year-old Bamberg resident is charged with two counts of breaking into a motor vehicle, tampering with a vehicle and possession of meth, according to the release.
Additionally, Myers was charged with injury to real property to obtain nonferrous metals and making/possessing tools capable of being used in a crime, according to Lexington County court records.
Deputies found Myers after someone called 911 call about a suspicious vehicle at the St. Andrews Road business, the sheriff’s department said. The business’ name and address were not made available by the sheriff’s department.
“A deputy found Myers in a business parking lot in the process of jacking up a car,” Sheriff Jay Koon said in the release. “The deputy found a saw and numerous blades in Myers’ truck. The deputy also found a freshly cut catalytic converter in the truck’s toolbox.”
Another car in the lot had visible damage to its catalytic converter, including some marks left by a saw blade, sheriff’s department spokesman Capt. Adam Myrick told The State.
Myers does not have any known connections to the business, according to Myrick.
Myers was arrested on the scene and taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, according to the release.
He’s been released after his bond was set at a combined $13,000 on the multiple charges, according to court records.
Because the investigation is ongoing, Myrick said the sheriff’s department can’t speculate if Myers is a suspect in other thefts of catalytic converters in the Midlands.
A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that turns toxic gases from engines into water and carbon dioxide. Inside, the converters can contain platinum, palladium, and rhodium — valuable metals as precious as gold.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, according to law enforcement agencies.
In recent months, dozens of catalytic converters have been stolen in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw and Orangeburg counties and other places around South Carolina.
“Catalytic converter thefts are out of control,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott recently told The State. “It’s not a sexy crime that gets a lot of attention, but it’s very damaging to those who get one stolen. It can cost thousands of dollars to get your car repaired.”
To help reduce the chances of having a catalytic converter stolen, law enforcement recommends:
▪ Putting light and surveillance cameras on your car at night
▪ Putting a metal cage over your converter or fastening it more securely
▪ Engraving identification numbers such as a license tag number on the converter
▪ Reporting suspicious cars in your neighborhood and the theft to your local law enforcement