LEXINGTON, S.C. – Lexington County deputies arrested two men accused of trying to steal a catalytic converter from a car left on the side of Interstate Highway 26.

Joshua Keith Shanklin (left), 25, and Timothy Eugene Watford, 42, are charged with possession of stolen nonferrous metals, injury to real property to obtain nonferrous metals, criminal conspiracy, breaking into a motor vehicle and possession of implements used in a crime, according to arrest warrants. Watford is also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of meth, according to warrants.

“A state trooper stopped on I-26 early Sunday morning near an abandoned vehicle when he saw Shanklin crawl out from under the SUV and run to another car,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “The trooper detained Shanklin and Watford, who was driving the other car, and notified us.”

A deputy arrived a short time later to interview Shanklin and Watford, according to Koon.

“The deputy could see a saw on the ground under the car. He found another saw under the abandoned vehicle with its blade stuck in the catalytic converter,” Koon said. “The deputy later found multiple sawblades, tools and auto parts in the car Watford was driving. The tools are consistent with cases of auto tampering.”

Shanklin and Watford were arrested on the scene. They are being held in the Lexington County Detention Center.

According to South Carolina law, it is illegal to intentionally damage property for the purpose of obtaining nonferrous metals. If damage to the property is less than $5,000, the crime is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or up to three years in prison, or both. If the damage to the property is $5,000 or more, the crime is considered a felony punishable by a fine or up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Koon said anyone with tips on other catalytic converter thefts or scrapyards illegally processing their trade for cash can share tips anonymously by calling 888-274-6372 or using the Crimestoppers app.