HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — Police in Hopewell are sending a stern warning to car owners after someone recently rummaged through several cars in the western part of the city.

Darchie Lewis, who lives on Granby Street, said his cars were targeted. His truck and his wife’s car were hit at night. “That night we heard the dogs barking. I knew it was different, but I never looked at the cameras,” he said.

Lewis didn’t realize what happened until his wife called him at work the next morning. That’s when he watched their surveillance video.

“I was a little angry and then I felt some kind of way that I wished I looked at the camera then,” he said. “I could’ve approached him about the situation, but after I thought about it, I’m glad I didn’t because come to find out, it was a child — 17 years old.”

Lewis is a national certified peer recovery specialist at City of Refuge Hopewell Recovery Center. The nonprofit opened six years ago and gave him a space to work with at-risk youth. He also works closely with people of all ages who struggle with addiction or who are trying to get custody of their children.

“I’m just blessed and I’m wanting [to] help from the heart,” he said.

The city’s police department is getting people’s attention with a video posted on their Facebook page. One part of the video said, “If a criminal can see something in a vehicle they want, they’ll try to get it.”

Police are calling car thefts a crime of opportunity. They share tips about how to prevent car thefts, like locking car doors and removing valuables. They also talked about what to do if your home is broken into or ransacked.

Hopewell Police said they took one person into custody for the crime.

Lewis, affectionately known as the ‘Hope Dealer’ in Hopewell, said instead of being upset at the crime he wants to contact the teen and his family to get them some help.

“What I learned from that situation is that if something like that happens, [to] stay in the house, because it isn’t no threat to me and my family,” he said. “Just call the police and let them deal with it, because what he could’ve took we could also get back, but a life being lost could never be replaced — that’s why we do what we do here.”

Lewis said he’s involved in other programs in the city, like The Well, an after-school program for Hopewell City Public Schools, and the police department’s youth intervention program, Good to Great.