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Catalytic converters stolen from NJ church vans: Police

Catalytic converters stolen from NJ church vans: Police
Catalytic converters stolen from NJ church vans: Police 01:57

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) -- A South Jersey church is one of the latest victims in a series of catalytic converter thefts across the region. Earlier this week, CBS3 told you about thieves stealing catalytic converters from school buses.

A church from Mount Laurel has an inspiring message for the thieves. As he drove into Fellowship Community Church, Pastor Tim Hunt says he noticed something unusual underneath one of his church's vans.

"I pulled in, and I pulled next to one and realized there was a piece of pipe underneath that was laying there so I crawled underneath and found out that the catalytic converter was cut out of the one van," Hunt said.

He soon discovered his church's other two vans also had their catalytic converters cut out.

Surveillance video shows thieves pulled into the church's parking lot in a minivan over the Thanksgiving holiday and stole catalytic converters off the vans within minutes.

Pastor Hunt estimates it'll cost the church $6,000 to repair the three vans.

"It's frustrating because it puts a lot of people out of money, and it also out of transportation for a while," Hunt said.

The church uses the vans to drive their seniors to activities and take kids on field trips.

Another theft at a church happened a few days before Gloucester Township Police say thieves stole six catalytic converters from school buses.

Police departments throughout South Jersey say thieves have gotten to the point where they can quickly climb underneath vehicles and steal catalytic converters.

As Mount Laurel and Gloucester Township Police departments continue their investigations, pastor hunt says he and his church forgive the thieves.

"We're not going to hold this against them. We're not going to hold grudges if they're seeking help, we would love to help them," Hunt said.

Though, whether the thieves take up the pastor's offer remains to be seen.

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