Catalytic converter thefts continue
By HEATHER WALTERS
The criminal trend of catalytic converters being stolen from Colleton County vehicles continues, as local officers responded last week to multiple reports of these thefts.
The initial surge of converter thefts began in the county in December of 2019, according to records within the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.
The catalytic converter is used in a vehicle to reduce toxic gases and pollutants produced by the engine. It is critical in keeping a vehicle running. But the interior components of a converter contain metals that can be sold.
In 2020, the sheriff’s office had a reported 64 catalytic converters stolen from vehicles around the county. That is from January 1 of 2020 through Dec. 31 of 2020.
Broken down by zip code, the most catalytic converters were taken from vehicles in Walterboro.
Last week, several thefts were reported across the county.
Officers were called to a Hampton Street residence last week when a vehicle owner reported suspicious activity at his home. Once on site, deputies learned the man’s vehicle had been tampered with and that the catalytic converter had been stolen off of his 2015 Jeep Cherokee, according to an incident report. The theft of converters has been steadily on the rise in Colleton County for two years, and law enforcement leaders are encouraging vehicle owners to be alert for suspicious activity.
In a separate incidence, officers were also called to a Walterboro residence on March 25th when an unknown suspect tried to remove catalytic converters from two vehicles. Deputies stated in their report that the converters had been cut, but were still attached to the vehicles. This occurred at a residence along Hampton Street.
In a third incident, deputies were also called to a business in Walterboro for the same crime. This occurred on March 23rd. According to an incident report, the suspects crawled under a fence surrounding the business and then removed catalytic converters from two of the business’ vehicles, a 2007 Ford van and a 2009 Ford 250.
In a fourth incident, deputies were called to a Round O business, where an unknown suspect stole catalytic converters from four vehicles on the property. The stolen converters were taken from two 1999 Ford Econoline vehicles, a 2001 Ford Econoline, a 1995 Toyota Tundra.
Man charged with meth possession
A 42-year-old Colleton County man is charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute after deputies found 3.9 grams of meth inside his vehicle. According to a Colleton County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the man was initially stopped by a deputy along Cypress Pond Road near Walterboro for not having a license plate on his vehicle. When the deputy approached the driver, the man “admitted to not having a valid driver’s license,” the report states. The man then gave the deputy consent to search his car and the deputy found a plastic bag containing meth. The man is also charged with Driving Under Suspension, third offense.
Round O woman swindled
A Round O woman has been swindled out of cash. According to an incident report filed with the sheriff’s office, the woman told officers that she willingly sent her personal information to someone pretending to be famous. This was done via social media. The victim said she thought she would get money back from the individual. Deputies advised the woman to not do this again, and they told her to close all accounts, as the suspect now has her personal information, the report states.
Facebook date leads to threats
A Colleton County man called authorities on March 25th to report that he is being blackmailed by a woman he met on a social media site. According to a Colleton County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the man notified authorities recently that a woman he met on Facebook is now demanding $8,000 cash. If she doesn’t receive the money, she is threatening to release damaging information about the man to his friends and family, the report states.
Detectives with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred at a Walterboro residence. According to an incident report filed with the agency, an armed robbery allegedly occurred during the night of March 24th at a residence on Evergreen Lane. It is unclear what was stolen, but the suspect is wanted for committing the armed robbery with a deadly weapon. This case is under investigation.
Camper tries to use counterfeit cash
Deputies were called to the ranger station at Edisto Island State Park on March 21st when someone paying for a camping spot used counterfeit money. According to an incident report filed with the sheriff’s office, the guest used a $100 counterfeit bill. The case remains under investigation.
Drag Racers caught
Deputies with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office were called to a report of drag racing last week. According to an incident report, deputies were called to Lowcountry Highway on March 21st, where there was a “large gathering” of people. One suspect was “momentarily detained,” the report states, and several items “consistent with drag racing” were taken and disposed of, the report states. No arrests were made.
Kids caught breaking into mobile homes
Four juveniles, ages 11 to 16, have been caught breaking into vacant mobile homes at Murray’s Transport on Sniders Highway, according to an incident report. The juveniles are facing breaking and entering charges, and the case is still under investigation.