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Chadbourn man charged after catalytic converter thefts lead to manhunt

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:09 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - One man is being held at Columbus County Law Enforcement Center after being arrested for stealing catalytic converters throughout Columbus County.

During the investigation, Daniel Graham Hayes, 31, of Chadbourn, was interviewed and admitted to the below incidents.

In May, Hayes stole catalytic converters from a wrecked truck in a yard on Bird Cage Road in Chadbourn. The property owner also had gasoline siphoned from another truck that was on the property.

In June, Hayes removed catalytic converters from a truck in the parking lot at International Paper in Riegelwood.

The next month, Hayes removed catalytic converters from a car parked at a residence on Joe Brown Highway North in Whiteville. Also in July, a car belonging to a Fair Bluff man was damaged on Peacock Road in Chadbourn, when the catalytic converter was removed from it.

Hayes also admitted to three more incidents. One incident occurred in Bladen County, where the victim has not been located. Another incident involved a victim that does not want to press charges, and the last incident involved a white van that was left disabled on the side of US 74. The owner of the van did not file an incident report and has not been located yet.

On July 19, Hayes fled from a Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Deputy after he attempted to stop Hayes on Blackwell Road in Cerro Gordo. Columbus County Sheriff’s Office had received multiple calls concerning a suspicious individual in the area, including a call for an attempted breaking or entering and a break-in resulting in damage to property. Hayes matched the physical description of the suspect, and his vehicle matched the description of the suspect vehicle.

Hayes’ attempted to elude law enforcement by driving into a field, but his vehicle bogged down in the muddy field. Hayes exited his vehicle and fled on foot. After an extensive manhunt, Hayes was located in a swampy area near Cedar Grove Baptist Church. For more details on this incident, visit WECT’s story on July 20.

Hayes’ vehicle was searched. Investigators located an amount of currency, two bags of methamphetamine, prescription medication, and multiple syringes. Hayes was arrested and charged for the above offenses.

In total, Hayes was charged with the following charges:

  • Felony Flee/Elude Arrest with a Motor Vehicle
  • Felony Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Methamphetamine
  • Felony Maintaining a Place to Keep/Sell a Controlled Substance
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Misdemeanor Resisting Public Officer
  • Felony Breaking and Entering
  • Felony Larceny After Breaking and Entering
  • Misdemeanor Injury to Real Property
  • Failure to Appear on Misdemeanor (DWLR, Oper Veh no Ins)
  • Failure to Appear on Misdemeanor (Exp Inspec, Drive MV no Reg)
  • Failure to Appear on Misdemeanor (Fict Alt Title/Reg Card)
  • two (2) counts of Felony Larceny
  • Misdemeanor Larceny

Hayes is currently being held on a $42,000 secured bond at Columbus County Law Enforcement Center.

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