DALLAS - A Dallas man confronted a suspect who appeared to be in the middle of stealing a catalytic converter from his van last week.
This was all caught on video, and police are now searching for the suspect.
"I see a guy waking around the van and he’s starting to move some of the stuff under there," Clay Hayner recalled.
This happened on August 4, in Dallas’ Design District.
The suspect crawled under the van while the owner watched it live on surveillance footage.
Minutes later, Hayner ran outside and confronted the suspect.
"And then he looks at me and he holds up like a knife and I just lost it on him," Hayner recalled.
That's when the fight started.
Hayner, a photographer, grabbed a light stand to defend himself.
[REPORTER: "Have you ever had to use this on anyone before?"]
"No," Hayner responded. "I don’t fight, like, I’ve never been in a fight in my entire life."
Hayner said this isn’t the first time someone appeared to be stealing a catalytic converter from his van outside his studio.
"When I saw him, it was like a buildup of frustration from the past year, because this is the fourth time they’ve tried to take it and they’ve gotten it twice," he said.
Dallas police responded, but the suspect got away.
[REPORTER: "In hindsight, do you do anything differently or are you pretty happy with how it was handled?"]
"I’m happy. You know, part of me wishes I would’ve been somehow able to hold him and keep him for police and all that," Hayner replied.
Thefts of catalytic converters are rising across the country because they contain valuable metals.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks crimes reported to insurance companies, said catalytic converter thefts increased from roughly 1,300 in 2018, to more than 52,000 last year.
Carrollton police detectives recovered hundreds of stolen catalytic converters just last week.
Hayner said he’s never confronted someone like this before.
"And I just started beating on his hand until I broke it and then he let go," he said.
[REPORTER: "Were you scared at all?"]
"No. My adrenaline was going. I didn’t even sleep that night. My adrenaline was going," Haynder said.
He hopes his story serves as a warning for other truck owners and potential thieves.
"Don’t come back," he said.