North Phenix Baptist Church is missing all of the copper tubing that ran underneath their sanctuary.
According to the Phenix City Police Department, the pipes were stolen some time in the last few weeks. Church members say it was a surprising and disappointing find.
"It's sad that they would resort to stealing from God's house in order to support their habits," Tim Jernigan, North Phenix Baptist Church's Property and Grounds Committee Chairman, tells News Leader Nine.
Jernigan says three weeks ago, church members noticed the air conditioning in the sanctuary was not working. After not being able to find or fix the problem, the church decided to call in a technician.
"When we called the repair man to fix it, he discovered all the copper had been stolen out from under the building," Jernigan adds.
The pastor at North Phenix Baptist Church says the robbers used a crawl space to go up under the building, and snatch out all of the copper wiring that went to the air condition units for the entire building. He says this will cost them somewhere in the park of around $5,000.
"Not only did they steal the copper," Jernigan explains, "but the units were damaged."
The Phenix City Police Department says the crime of stealing copper has declined over the last few months as a result of local and state efforts to monitor copper thefts and sales--a business that could rake in more than three dollars a pound according to www.investmine.com.
The theft has left those at North Phenix Baptist working to replace what they have lost.
Jernigan assures, "We're in the process of filing a claim, and perhaps that will take care of most of the cost. Of course there will probably be deductibles and all, but we do what we have to do. God provides."
No suspects have been identified yet in this incident. Phenix City police tell us they are continuing to work with local vendors who buy copper to cut down on the sale of the material in east Alabama.
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