Thieves nab copper from Henderson churches
Posted November 17, 2010 5:16 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2010 7:01 p.m. EST
Henderson, N.C. — Copper thieves have struck the heating and air conditioning units outside three Henderson churches in less than a week, authorities said Wednesday.
Five units at Spirit of Life Christian Church were damaged Saturday, church pastor Rev. Stan Rice said.
"It's an assault against the church," Rice said Wednesday as he surveyed the damage. "Until this individual or individuals are apprehended, you know, I don't think we're going to have peace in our community as a whole."
The church spent about $64,000 to install the heating and cooling system, which has been reduced to pieces of scrap, he said.
Henderson police said 13 copper thefts have occurred at local businesses since the beginning of October. Equipping Faith Church was targeted last Thursday, and Jesus House of Prayer was hit both Sunday and Tuesday.
"We're upset about what is occurring in the community," said Lt. Chris Ball of the Henderson Police Department. "The amount of money (thieves) might receive from this is minute (compared with) the damage and the heartache to these businesses."
Investigators are following leads in the various thefts and have identified persons of interest, Ball said.
Rice said his congregation held its most recent Sunday service outside because there was no air circulation inside.
"Our church is a church of faith," he said. "We're still going to be having our services faithfully and just fulfilling our mission to the community."