WINNIPEG -- Two men who were allegedly in the process of stealing catalytic converters out from under cars were thwarted with the help of the Winnipeg police helicopter.

Police said on Tuesday around 11:30 p.m., officers were called to a theft in progress at a car dealership in the 700 block of Nairn Avenue.

Police said two men were crawling under vehicles trying to remove the catalytic converters. 

"AIR1 assisted and provided containment until officers on the ground located the two suspects," police said in a release, adding the two men who had tools with them were arrested.

"Although they did not successfully remove the catalytic converters, the vehicles still sustained damage from their attempts."

Alan William Kay, 37, and a 47-year-old man from Winnipeg were arrested and charged with two counts of theft from a motor vehicle. The charges have not been proven in court.

Kay was detained in custody, while the other man was released on an undertaking.

Winnipeg police have previously said the theft of catalytic converters – which are used to reduce toxic gases and pollutants from an engine – is on the rise in Winnipeg. Police previously said there were 77 reports of thefts of catalytic converters in January.

Police previously said cars will make a loud roaring sound if the catalytic converter is removed. They said people should park their vehicles in garages or a well-lit public parking lot or parkade to prevent the thefts.

-With files from CTV's Charles Lefebvre.