SAN ANTONIO -

Two thefts of cell phones and a third attempt have parishioners at St. Matthew Catholic Church on guard and warning other religious leaders.

The thefts occurred earlier this month in the Adoration Chapel at St. Matthew, which is open 24 hours a day for prayer.

It was there on May 2, her birthday, while she was prayerfully reflecting on her life, that Tina Garcia became a crime victim.

"I came here to give thanks and praise to God for allowing me to be here for 55 years," Garcia said.

She said a man in another pew asked to borrow her cell phone and she gave it to him.

"And I looked and he was out the door," Garcia said.

She said the thief went out a door and headed toward the parking lot and that she came out in time to see a white car speeding away after nearly hitting another vehicle.

She filed a police report and the church captured part of the incident on video.

Photos taken from the video show the suspect and the car possibly involved.

They were placed inside the chapel to warn others.

Rev. Dennis Arechiga, pastor of St. Matthew, said a sign warning people to keep all of their personal effects to themselves has also been posted.

"I think it's horrible that while people are trying to be in a sacred, holy place and pray that someone would go and misuse their trust," Arechiga said.

Father Dennis said despite cameras watching the chapel, another phone was stolen in the same way and there was a third attempt.

"I think this person is really preying on them because they're in a more vulnerable position," Arechiga said.

He said religious leaders should be aware of what is happening and be prepared to take action.

He said St. Matthew is already reviewing security measures.

Garcia tried to track her iPhone through the Apple Store, but the thief had apparently turned it off.

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