LAUDERDALE LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) - A bishop at a South Florida church is speaking out hours after a crook climbed under a truck the house of worship uses and stole an in-demand car part.

The perpetrator targeted a truck at All Nations New Testament Church to God Fellowship, early Thursday morning.

Bishop Evan Grant said the theft has affected their ability to feed those in need.

“Today’s Thursday, it’s food pantry day,” said Grant. “People from all over come over for food here, and you look, people coming all — look at the cars coming all the way back to Oakland Park — right here for food.”

The church uses a six-year-old truck several days a week to collect boxes of donations.

But early Thursday morning, Grant cranked up the engine of the truck to hear a telltale banging sound. He discovered the vehicle’s catalytic converter had been stolen.

“People don’t care. People just do their own things,” he said.

Just after 4:30 a.m., the church security camera showed what looked like a white SUV pull up and stop near the truck. Someone then turned off the SUV’s lights.

Moments later, someone is seen shining a light under the truck. Two minutes and 13 seconds after pulling up, the SUV is seen driving away.

The number of thefts of catalytic converters have reportedly gone up more than 300% nationwide since 2019. The value of the metals that make up the exhaust systems have skyrocketed in recent years.

But that doesn’t matter much to Grant, who said he worries about the long-term effect of using the truck without the in-demand part.

The bishop’s priority, however, are the people who wait in line on Thursdays for food.

“It’s so hard, because people are out there needing help, and now the church, we are trying to help them,” said Grant.

He said he focuses on a passage from the Bible, Matthew 25:35, emblazoned on the truck — to feed the hungry, to give a drink to the thirsty — and not on those who would swipe a car part from a church truck in the dark.

When asked whether it’s hard to not be angry, Grant replied, “It’s true. I tell you, it’s very, very hard, you know, my faith that is keeping me right now, that I don’t get angry.”

Soon after the discovery that the converter was stolen, the church was able to get their donors to bring the food directly to the church.

The truck can still be used, although Grant said he is concerned about the long-term prospects of doing so. He was able to get an estimate and was told it would take thousands of dollars to fix.

If you have any information on this theft, call the Broward Sheriff’s Office or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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