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Police looking for thief targeting church vans

Chief Kenneth Collins and the Brookhaven Police Department are searching for a man caught on video allegedly stealing parts from church vans.

The thief has used a cordless power saw to quickly remove catalytic converters from the exhaust systems of at least three vans in recent weeks at three locations in Brookhaven, including Easthaven Baptist Church, where video captured the suspect in the act.

The man seen in the video posted to BPD’s Facebook page is a white male, bald, seen wearing a dark shirt, red shorts and a red bandanna covering the lower portion of his face.

“This puts the vans down. They can’t be used (without the converter),” Det. Sgt. Jonathan Alford said. “They can’t use them as they’re intended, they have to make repairs — it’s expensive and inconvenient.”

A replacement converter can cost anywhere from $400 to $3,000 to replace, Alford said, depending on the quality of the part, the vehicle make and model, and labor costs.

Alford told The Daily Leader thieves stealing these vehicle exhaust components are likely trying to sell them at scrap yards due to the platinum and other expensive metals in them. BPD is monitoring area scrap yards and has asked them to be vigilant for anyone attempting to sell catalytic converters, and notify the police department as needed.

Chief Collins announced Thursday that officers know the identity of the suspect.

“We know who you are and you need to turn yourself in,” Collins said. “The young lady who is hanging with you is just as guilty as you. You can run but you can’t hide, especially when you’re stealing from God.”

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call BPD at 601-833-2424 or CrimeStoppers at 601-823-0150.