Local News

Air conditioning units stolen from Durham church

Posted August 23, 2010
Updated August 24, 2010

— Durham police are investigating after someone stole central air conditioning units from the Immanuel Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“I think the first reaction for the most part was disbelief. We figured, we are a church, no one is going to do this,” church pastor John Nixon II said.

The first theft of six units happened earlier this month. Then last week, six additional air conditioning units were also stolen from the 2102 S. Alston Ave. church.

“We heard the next morning when we called the police that other churches in the area had been hit as well,” Nixon said.

With no central air, Nixon said holding summer revival has been difficult. The church rented temporary units to keep the church cool.

“Of course, it is hurting people in our church. At our church in particular, we have got several elderly people that can't come as hot as it is,” Nixon said.

Church member Marion Fuller, 90, isn’t letting the heat keep her away from church. She says she doesn't understand why someone would steal from a church.

“I don't think it is right, and I think they ought to get them,” Fuller said. “It makes me so sad to know that someone would do this and other churches too."

Thieves target church AC units Thieves target church AC units

New security grates were installed to protect future air conditioning units at the church.

“We're determined not to be defeated,” Nixon said.

Police said the motive for the crime might have been to sell the copper from the units.

Insurance adjusters estimate replacing the units will cost about $60,000 and will take nearly a month to install.

Police haven't made any arrests and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Durham Crime Stoppers at 919-547-8327.


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  • Hammerhead Aug 25, 2010

    It was an arrogant comment, how dare they rob a church of all places. I find church unnecessary for spirituality. God is everywhere, is he/she/it not?

  • sbj27703 Aug 24, 2010

    Let me say to MR hammerhead or anyone else that may have taken the comments by Pastor Nixon as a form of arrogance. I am sorry you feel that way. Pastor Nixon is far from being arrogant. There was a time that a place of worship was respected by everyone in it community even criminals. Obviously that time has past for some and this has been a learning experience for our church. We do not hold our Church or ourselves above anything or anyone. We do not attend church because we do not steal, kill or covet. We attend Church to Worship and fellowship with each other and because our Lord God tells us to "For where two or more are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them." So again we would invite those who are responsible, have not been to church in 40 years, or anyone else that would like to come. Cause its what is on the inside that can help you far more than what you can get on the out.

    Stanley Branch Jr
    Immanuel Temple SDA Church
    Communication Director

  • Hammerhead Aug 24, 2010

    Petty thieves don't care about the risk, source, or payout. I'm sure $100 bucks was worth the risk to get what they wanted.

  • micah Aug 24, 2010

    I don't get it. Those American Standard units pictured are the same as Trane, and therefore have little copper in them. The main coils are aluminum, leaving only interconnecting piping and a little bit of wiring for copper reclaim. They might get a pound of copper from each one. For the sake of argument, lets say they get two pounds from each of the 12 units. That is 24lbs of copper. Scrap prices now are around $3/lb. So, they net $72 bucks after all that work stealing the coils? Perhaps they can get something for the aluminum too, which is at about 0.80/lb at last check. There was probably three pounds of aluminum in each unit, so add $29 to the $72 and we are around $100. I just don't see why it is worth it. I know some scrap metal dealers won't take coils from those without HVAC licenses either.

  • Hammerhead Aug 24, 2010

    Never said that, and never said I didn't believe in God. I just don't go to church, don't think God has any control over things like this ( bigger fish to fry ), and don't think that churches and Christians are somehow protected from on high at the expense of others. We're all in the same boat. Broaden your mind a little.

  • browne-eyed girl Aug 24, 2010

    To Hammerhead - I bet you haven't sinned either. Some people still consider the church a Holy place.

  • Hammerhead Aug 24, 2010

    I stand by my statement. Why should a church be above burglary? His statement comes across as arrogant to me.
    FTR...I haven't been to church in almost 40 years and I haven't killed, stolen, commited adultery, nor coveted my neighbor's wife.

  • jazzcomic Aug 24, 2010

    Really? The arrogance of these guys never ceases to amaze me. Guess the The Security God was off that night. Would you rather he stole from some low income household who struggles to make ends meet?

    Hammerhead, because you were so quick to jump on the Pastor of this church, you forgot to use common sense in your remarks!!! i am sure that the Pastor would prefer that the people NOT STEAL FROM ANYONE.....churches, rich folk or poor. Good Grief, the people on this message board are so quick to be negative that you sometimes forget that what you're harping on someone else about, doesn't even make any logical sense!

  • 6079 SMITH W Aug 24, 2010

    CRACK......it AIN'T just for breakfast anymore. ;)

  • Lead by Example Aug 24, 2010

    “I think the first reaction for the most part was disbelief. We figured, we are a church, no one is going to do this,” church pastor John Nixon II said.

    Unfortunately most criminals don't care who their victim is, there is no sanctuary from crime.