HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The twenty year old woman was leaving the West End Presbyterian Church around 2:40 on Wednesday afternoon. Police say a man came up beside her, and stole her pocketbook and keys with every intent of leaving in the woman's car.
But a struggle ensued, and the would-be carjacker instead ran away without taking the wheels. No one in the middle of a busy day saw where he went.
"Quioccasin Road is a very busy road, there's always a lot of activity in that area. It was on a church parking lot, so it can happen anywhere," said Henrico Police Lt. Doug Perry.
The crime at West End Presbyterian is the latest and most violent act in a week that's seen local churches become targets. On Tuesday, vandals broke several windows at Rivermont Presbyterian in Chesterfield; the same day we reported shed break-ins behind several other churches in the county. None of that happened to Pastor Ken Johnston, but he's not surprised.
"Well I think we're living in increasingly difficult days. And on top of that, I think they have generally less respect for the church than perhaps they used to have," said Pastor Johnson.
His West End Alliance Church has two alarm systems, and lights that stay on overnight. If criminals have a stereotype for churches, it doesn't apply here.
"I think they are perceived as a relatively soft target," said Johnson.
Still that may never be enough to prevent random acts of violence. So police have this message, for the church-going public.
"Crime can occur anywhere even on a church parking lot, and this is broad daylight," said Perry.
Staff at West End Presbyterian declined to comment - thankful enough that the young woman who was nearly carjacked, was unhurt.