WEST MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- An unholy crime happening at a West Mobile church and the pastor said it nearly happened a second time.

The church vans at Living Water Baptist Church had their catalytic converters cut out last month. They were all fixed up when the pastor says it appears the crooks came back two weeks later to try to steal them again.

“I just feel like we’re sitting prey,” said Pastor James Richardson.

Richardson is frustrated after last month’s theft. To his surprise, a person was caught on camera on Monday with a flashlight looking under them and he believes they wanted to steal them again.

“If you have to stoop so low as to steal from a church and then come back to commit that crime again that tells me there’s a deep problem somewhere with that individual,” he said.

Nothing was stolen this week, but the church off Schillinger Road is having flashbacks after shelling out about $2,000 to fix the vans the first time.

“We use these vans to pick up kids, we use these vans to group home elderly people, we don’t charge them anything,” Richardson said. “The van is purchased with money that members of this church donate.”

Catalytic converters are a hot commodity. The crooks likely after the precious metals that are housed inside the part from the vehicle’s exhaust system that removes pollutants.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office says they are seeing an increase in theft countywide.

Pastor Richardson’s message to the thieves, instead of stealing ask for help.

“If they had come and asked for help we would help them and that’s what we want to do,” he said. “I hope if they are viewing this and I hope that they feel sad for what they’ve done.”

It is unclear if the people in the video are the same crooks who stole the catalytic converters in November, but the church hopes someone will recognize the truck or the person and call Mobile Police.

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