One man pulled up to the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on Old West Broad Street with a van full of children about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday and saw someone behind the church run across the parking lot with a backpack, police said.
The man climbed a fence and got away, but left behind a backpack full of stolen copper air conditioning parts, according to police.
Another church worker got in a car and went looking for the thief, and spotted him going into Walgreens pharmacy on Hawthorne Avenue where he grabbed the thief and brought him outside until officers arrived, police said.
Jon Michael Wilkerson, 44, admitted he stole the air-conditioning parts and was charged with theft by taking and second-degree criminal damage, police said.
He was treated at Athens Regional Medical Center for severe cuts he suffered when climbing the church's fence, police said.