A man suspected of being mentally ill allegedly stole a hearse that contained a casket during a funeral in South Los Angeles this weekend.
The incident occurred Saturday outside the Ebenezer Baptist Church just before 11 a.m. funeral services were scheduled for 19-year-old Jonte Lee Reed.
“It is like a bad made-for-tv movie,” Shirley Little tells PEOPLE.
According to Little, the wife of pastor Kenneth Little, the funeral home driver, who was running a little late, left the hearse outside while he helped with flower arrangements. When he went to bring the casket inside, the hearse was gone.
“We were all in disbelief,” says Little. “Someone in the area decided to drive off in the car.”
Little says her husband called the police while relatives of the deceased teen drove around the neighborhood looking for the vehicle. Family members spotted the hearse within three miles of the Baptist church before the police did and made the driver pull over, she says.
“They actually caught the person who was driving,” says Little. “The body had not been tampered with. It is unbelievable.”
Little says the funeral was only delayed by 30 minutes.
“I can’t explain it,” she says. “It was a miracle considering all that occurred. It went off without a hitch. Our church just celebrated its 76th year and never had anything like this happen. It truly was a random bizarre act.”
The man was placed into custody and expected to be charged with auto theft, according to KTLA. His mental condition was also being evaluated.
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed an incident occurred but couldn’t say if an arrest was made.