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Two S.C. Men Heist Construction Equipment, Excavate Soccer Field

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May 27 -- LEXINGTON COUNTY -- Two Columbia men were arrested over the holiday weekend and charged with stealing equipment and damaging fields at Seven Oaks Park near Irmo .

Dylan Bridger Bennett , 20, of Northman Drive is charged with grand larceny, malicious injury to personal property, criminal conspiracy and public disorderly conduct. He was released from the Lexington County Detention Center on Monday after posting bail totaling $6,262 .

Matthew C. Downs , 27, of Linsbury Circle , is charged with grand larceny, malicious injury to personal property and criminal conspiracy. He was released from the detention center Monday after posting bail totaling $6,000 .

According to a Lexington County Sheriff's Department news release, the two men entered Seven Oaks Park shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday , entered a fenced maintenance area and stole a $2,500 EZ Go Golf Cart. Then then entered a fenced construction area and hotwired a combination front-end loader and backhoe that was worth more than $10,000 .

Arrest warrants say that the two drove the backhoe through the fence, causing $2,500 in damages, and then dug holes and scraped up grass turf on one soccer field, causing between $2,000 and $10,000 in damages.

Bennett was arrested a short time later when he walked out of the woods onto Linsbury Circle near the park. The deputy who arrested him determined he had been drinking. Downs was arrested at Seven Oaks Park .

The equipment was recovered in the park.


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