PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Portsmouth Police say a man stole a church van on Sunday then crashed it into a downtown building.
Jan Clark with the Portsmouth Police Department said an officer saw the van hit a pole in the 600 block of High Street and tried to stop the suspect. The suspect sped off and crashed into a building in the 800 block of High Street.
Police have charged the man they say was driving, Malcolm Lee Boykins, 36, of Portsmouth, with grand larceny, felony eluding police, reckless driving and destruction of property.
It happened all while Brigid White and her family were at mass at Saint Paul's Catholic Church. White says looking at the crash scene it's hard to believe this happened to her family's car.
"That doesn't happen everyday but it happened. Now our car is crashed into the side of a building," White said.
The van belongs to Brigid White's dad. Before the suspect crashed it into the side of a building, White says the family let the parish use it for church event. They realized it was gone shortly after mass on Sunday.
"We walked out of mass and our friends drove past the building and said, 'We saw your car in the side of a building.' We didn't believe them at first," White said.
The friend knew it was the family van because of its distinct yellow license plate.
"I'm kind of in shock right now. I started to cry at first, because this just doesn't happen everyday," White said. "It's a little scary, but everyone is safe. No one was in the car and the guy is safe so which is amazing."
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