LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Lufkin police officers arrested two Houston men early Tuesday morning after they allegedly cut the catalytic converter off of a church van.
Rodney Christian Clovis, 28, and Antwaun Delvernere Nicholson, 22, both of Houston, were booked into the Angelina County Jail on misdemeanor theft between $100 and $750 charges. Nicholson was also charged with failure to identify.
Clovis posted bail on a $1,500 bond amount and was released later Tuesday. Nichol was released Tuesday as well after he posted bail on a collective bond amount of $3,000.
According to the offense report, two Lufkin police officers were dispatched to Chestnut Drive Baptist Church, which is located at 1701 S. Chestnut, at about 1:51 a.m. Tuesday to check out a report of suspicious activity.
A woman called the police department and said she heard someone sawing at the church. She also told the dispatcher that she saw a small, dark-colored car parked in the shadows behind the two church vans.
The two LPD officers arrived on the scene and checked the area. During their search, they discovered that the catalytic converter had been removed from one of the vans and told other LPD officers to check other churches for any kind of suspicious activity.
After a keyholder arrived at the church, the Lufkin PD officers were able to view surveillance footage. It showed a dark-colored car arriving at the scene and park next to the vans. Two men could be seen getting out of the vehicle, which had a rectangular object on the driver’s side of the dash and no front license plate.
The driver was seen carrying a rectangular laundry basket and a tool that appeared to be some type of saw, the offense report stated. A few minutes later, the two men drove away in the vehicle.
Another Lufkin PD officer was parked in the dark at Timbercreek Church when he spotted a vehicle matching the description from the surveillance video drive into the church parking lot.
After the LPD officer made contact with the two men in the car, he noticed what appeared to be the handle and battery of a power tool lying on the back floorboard. He also noticed that the vehicle didn’t have a front license plate, and it had a DVD case on the dash.
At that point, the LPD officer felt that he had enough probable cause to search the vehicle, and he detained the two men and discovered a Milwaukee brand Hackzall saw in the rear floorboard, the offense report supplement stated. According to the offense report supplement, the LPD officer also found the stolen catalytic converter wrapped in a metallic sun visor in the trunk.
Later, Nicholson admitted that he had lied about his name.
When asked why he took the catalytic converter, Clovis said that his uncle, who is a tack welder, needed the converter because he had a vehicle it would fit on, the offense report supplement stated. Clovis also allegedly said he involved Nicholson in the crime because he is a “very good friend from his neighborhood.”