CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A public safety officer patrolling a church parking lot during Sunday morning services scared off two thieves attempting to steal a truck’s catalytic converter, a church administrator tells 10 On Your Side.

“They saw a car parked wit one gentleman in the car, and a gentleman underneath the truck with a battery-powered hack saw, trying to take the catalytic converter,” the administrator said.

The church staff asked us not to identify the church, so as to not discourage anyone from coming to church.

“The guard asked if he could help the person, trying to investigate what’s going on. The person immediately rolled out from underneath the car, got in the vehicle, and sped off,” the administrator said.

This isn’t the first time catalytic converter thieves have hit this same church, located in the Deep Creek section of Chesapeake. In May 2021, a thief was caught on camera walking away and getting into his car after taking a catalytic converter from a car parked at the church overnight.

Then last fall, police say three catalytic converters were taken from cars parked in the same parking lot.

“It’s just something we all need to be more aware of. It’s helpful when police are doing patrols, it’s a big deterent. We appreciate that kind of support,” the administrator said.

In another brazen theft just two days after Christmas and not too far from the church — a police report was filed by a person who claimed their catalytic converter was stolen from their car while they were inside the Regal movie theater sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The church administrator says it just goes to show these thefts can happen anywhere — and it shouldn’t stop anyone from coming to church.

“Come on anyway. This can happen anywhere, anytime. There are just some people who are opportunists,” she said.