SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco’s police chief responded to criticism that his officers did not do enough to catch a suspected catalytic converter thief caught in the act.

The incident happened around 3 a.m. Tuesday when home surveillance video captured a Honda Accord parking in the area near 24th Street and Anza Street in San Francisco’s Richmond District. A Jeep could be seen nearby.

KRON4 spoke to a witness, Morgan Heller. “I woke up to the sound of what I thought was kind of like drilling. It sounded like a tile cutter. I thought it might be a catalytic converter being cut,” she said.

She says that is exactly what it was. Heller and her roommate called 911 and police arrived quickly. Heller says officers even pulled a man from under the car and detained him but ultimately let him go.

Heller says officers told her they did not have enough evidence to make an arrest. The owner of the car was not there and while the man carried a car jack, he had not yet taken the converter.

On Friday San Francisco Police Chief William Scott responded to the scrutiny by explaining, “Officers arrived on scene, detained a suspect, conducted a preliminary investigation, and determined probable cause did not exist to make an arrest at that time. I support their decision. This case has been the subject of public scrutiny and media attention across several platforms, which has jeopardized the public trust that the SFPD has worked hard to earn.”

“In this case, a suspect was observed by a witness under a vehicle as the witness could hear metal being sawed. When officers arrived on scene, the suspect was standing next to the vehicle and was in possession of a car jack. Officers observed that the catalytic converter was damaged,” Scott wrote. “When officers determine that there is not enough evidence to arrest an individual, and further investigation is needed, they may release that person pursuant to Penal Code section 849(b). We always encourage anyone who believes they are a witness or victim of a crime to call the police immediately. Here witnesses called 911, and coupled with a quick response, officers were able to disrupt a crime before it was completed.”