MANCHESTER TWP. — An Egg Harbor Township man is accused of trying to pry a catalytic converter, which is highly valued as a secondhand car part, from a Ford van belonging to a local church.

Manchester police said on Facebook that their officers responded Monday afternoon to the parking lot of the Whiting Bible Church, on Lacey Road, initially due to reports of a "suspicious vehicle."

The person who called police said that when they approached a person whom they allegedly witnessed attempting to cut the converter out of the van, that person got into a Ford F150 pickup truck and drove away.

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Upon arrival, Manchester police said they spoke with a resident who was able to provide license plate information for the suspicious vehicle. Authorities traced the vehicle's registration to an address in Egg Harbor Township, and police detectives from both towns responded to that residence.

As they maintained surveillance, resident Charles Robinson, 35, arrived home, and a search of his vehicle yielded "numerous tools and cutting instruments" which police said were consistent with catalytic converter thefts.

Robinson was charged with criminal mischief, attempted theft, and possession of burglary tools, according to the Facebook post, and released pending a court appearance.

Manchester police warn that any larger vehicles, or even hybrid cars, that are left unattended for extended periods of time are especially subject to having their catalytic converters stolen. They urge anyone with information about such cases to contact 732-657-6111, manchesterpolicenj.com, or private message via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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