Men caught stealing car parts

It was a short drive to the Catawba County Jail for two thieves.
Authorities arrested two Hickory men on Monday who tried to steal car parts from vehicles parked outside the sheriff’s office in Newton.

The two thieves cut a catalytic converter from a 1977 Chevrolet Silverado parked just outside the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office on Monday morning and were getting ready to leave, said Sheriff Coy Reid.

“One of my detectives, Sgt. Beebe, was getting out of his car in the back when someone ran up to him and said, ‘This guy’s got a catalytic converter in his hand and is walking across the parking lot,' " Reid said.

Beebe spotted the suspect, Montaus Jamar McCorkle, 19, of Hickory, getting in a car also parked in the parking lot. Beebe approached the car and found a catalytic converter on the floor board of the vehicle.

After questioning the suspect, McCorkle blamed Branden Lowell Benson, 33, of Hickory, who was also sitting in the car. Benson said McCorkle was the culprit.

Both men were charged with larceny of motor parts, and Benson was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

The men had cutting tools with them to remove the converter, a process that Reid said “is tough.”

“It is a brave move,” Reid said. “They have to get under the vehicle and cut it off."