Three men were caught Friday in the middle of the night trying to steal part of a person’s car in Rosewood, according to police.
Columbia Police Department charged Rem Rcom, Ksor Theo and Thobour Sing with conspiracy, property damage and damaging a vehicle. All three are from Charlotte, North Carolina, police said.
The men tried to steal the catalytic converter from the victim’s Honda, according to the department.
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 contain platinum, a valuable metal.
About 4 a.m., a person called police and reported that three men were tampering with the car on the 800 block of South Woodrow, the department said. The caller gave police a description of the vehicle the suspicious men drove. Moments later, police found the vehicle with the three men inside. Officers arrested all three without incident.
Officers jailed the three at Alvin S. Glenn. A judge gave them all bonds of about $5,000. The men had not posted the bonds as of Saturday morning.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, according to police.
In recent months, dozens of catalytic converters have been stolen in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw and Orangeburg counties and other places around the state.
Toyota Priuses are a main target, Columbia police master police officer Mason Frier told The State for a recent article. Frier is part of the southeastern response team, which covers neighborhoods such as Shandon, Rosewood, Old Shandon and down Devine Street to Garners Ferry Road.
“Catalytic converter thefts are out of control,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.
In December, state agents charged an Orangeburg police officer with illegally selling metal from catalytic converters after they discovered social media postings saying he was buying the car parts.
The most serious crime the three men are charged with is the conspiracy offense. Conspiracy is a felony punishable with up to five years in prison.