Senior police are urging drivers to exercise caution when asked by certain religious leaders to "bless" their cars, as at least one pastor has been implicated in the stolen vehicle trade.
Newsday understands at least two people have been involved in incidents, where a Tunapuna pastor asked worshippers to bless their cars to avoid accidents or death.
The pastor reportedly tells certain worshippers that he had visions of them dying and wanted to bless the car for good measure. He also demands gold and other valuables to be placed inside the car, for the blessings to work.
Once the pastor has the car, he sells it to dealers.
Speaking with Newsday, sources in the Stolen Vehicles Unit confirmed they have heard of such incidents but were unable to intervene as no official reports were made.
"We heard about it. The church goers complained that they were being conned because the pastor was supposedly selling their cars when they went to get it blessed, but they eventually got it back when they threatened to report him to the police. They said their cars would be kept away from them for months at a time."
Police said it appeared to be part of a growing trend where religious leaders would ask worshippers to bless their cars to avoid death, but there was a challenge in investigating as few victims come forward to report it as they felt embarrassed.
Police are urging public to avoid leaving their cars with strangers for long periods of time.