When confronted with criminals, it’s hard to know exactly how many of us would react. Although we’d all like to think we’d go out of our way to try and save the day, it’s a hard act to follow up on in reality.
For Gaston County pastor Mike Brewer, though, helping to catch wrongdoers has become a bit of a habit.
The pastor was visiting his brother near his church in Belmont, North Carolina when he spotted a white SUV backed up to the place of worship.
According to the Gaston County Gazette, Brewer initially assumed that the driver of the SUV was at Upper Room Church to drop off donations or other church supplies.
As he watched, though, he noticed that items weren’t heading into the church—they were coming out of it.
The driver finished loading up the car in a rush, then made a quick break in hopes of a clean getaway—trying to leave so quickly that he left his trunk open, exposing the stolen goods he’d grabbed from the congregation.
Brewer made an immediate decision; rather than turning a blind eye, he took off in his own vehicle after the thief, hoping to prevent the getaway from becoming a success.
Brewer followed the truck up and down local streets, reaching speeds as high as 90 MPH.
He kept this up as he called the police and calmly helped them pinpoint the church intruder.
It became like a scene from a movie: He evaded a flying stereo on the highway when the stolen goods started to slide out of the open trunk, maneuvering his unlikely vigilante vehicle—a Dodge minivan—as if he were doing no more than driving his kids to school.
It seemed that the thief was going to get away, as Brewer eventually told dispatchers that he’d lost sight of the truck after a quick U-turn helped him slip down a side street. After leading them so far on the chase, though, the police were able to find the thief—61-year-old Reginald Rorie of nearby Charlotte, who managed to earn himself a set of felony charges for breaking and entering, along with both larceny and possession of burglary tools. He had brought his stolen wares to a nearby mobile home park, where he was hoping to drop them off and escape unnoticed.
The reverend was able to recover nearly everything taken by Rorie, including a large array of technical equipment purchased by the church for use during sermons. The only casualty of the whole ordeal was the stereo, which was damaged by its wild ride during the car chase.
It could have been much worse, though. Brewer confirmed that Rorie had left behind a number of items that he’d been preparing to load into his car, which had been set out near the exit in advance of the attempted robbery. He credits his involvement in the ordeal, though, not to his own quick thinking, but to God.
If he hadn’t been in the right place at the right time, the pastor explained, he wouldn’t have seen Rorie loading up the rest of the goods and taking off—and after the Church had spent so much money on the equipment, he’s happy to have it all safe and sound.
This wasn’t Brewer’s first incident helping out law enforcement.
It turns out that the holy man had helped out police during a previous attempted robbery in the area, helping them to apprehend a thief who was looking to snatch wares from a local garage.
His hopes for this particular criminal, though? He wants to see him punished, although he wishes him no ill will.
“We forgive him for what he did, but I don’t condone what he did,” he told Gaston County Gazette. “If you do the crime, you’re going to do the time. We wish we could help him in any way we could. Maybe if the judge will send him to church here that’d be great.”