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Two Ohio men have been charged with stealing catalytic converters from automobiles, Royal Oak Police said Friday.

Darrell Boykins and Jowan McNeal were formally charged Thursday in 44th District Court on felony charges.

Boykins was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny from a vehicle, larceny from a vehicle, attempted larceny from a vehicle and obstructing a police officer. The first two charges are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. The attempted larceny charge is a 2-1/2-year felony and the obstructing charge, also a felony, carries a penalty of up to two years in prison.

McNeal was charged with the same charges as Boykins, except the obstructing charge.

A judge set bond for each man at $30,000 and scheduled their next court appearances for Dec. 12.

Authorities said both men have criminal records.

Boykins has previous convictions in Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maryland for theft, possession of criminal tools, drug possession, drug trafficking, car theft, identify fraud and domestic violence, they said.

McNeal has convictions in Maryland and Ohio for identity theft and narcotics delivery. He also has several outstanding warrants for his arrest in Michigan, police said.

Police said at 6:36 a.m. Tuesday they were called to the 400 block of N. Troy Street near Main Street and 11 Mile about a theft in progress.

Officers arrived and found Boykins and McNeal walking away from the area, officials said.

As officers took McNeal into custody, Boykins fled on foot and police chased him through several yards where he attempted to hide, according to authorities.

Officers were able to arrest him as he was trying to get into a vehicle, police said. 

They searched the car and found a reciprocating saw, saw blades, an automotive jack and ten catalytic converters inside it, they said. Officers also found saw blades in Boykin's possession. The special metals in a converter are worth hundreds of dollars.

Investigators were able to match one of the catalytic converters to a car parked in the 2800 block of Rochester Road in Royal Oak, according to police.

Detectives believe the two men are connected to a number of thefts of catalytic converters across southeast Michigan, officials said.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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