AC theft: Crooks without a conscience? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

AC theft: Crooks without a conscience?

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Thieves hit two East Albany churches Thursday night.  They destroyed expensive air conditioners for a few dollars worth of metal. 

A Pastor says crime in his community is frightening and is asking people there to turn in these thieves.

Six air conditioners in all were stripped Friday night at two East Albany churches. And it will cost the churches thousands of dollars to repair the damage.

The Pastor at one of East Albany's largest churches says it's time for the community stop the crime there.

Even with six feet tall fences, surrounded by boards, and huge chains and locks, metal thieves still stripped five air conditioners behind the Greater Second Mt. Olive Church last night.

"I think even for a criminal, a church should be off limits," Reverend Lorenzo Heard said.

Just a couple of blocks away, the air conditioner behind the Grace Emmanuel Church was also stripped. Investigators say these recent East Albany air conditioner thefts are probably being done by the same thieves. they take the coils, and seem to be very skilled. They never even cut the power to the units.

"They left all of the copper parts and took just the aluminum. Because with the copper you have to show your ID, but you don't have to show ID with the aluminum,"  Heard said.

Greater Second Mt. Olive's rental property, St. John's Estates, was hit by the metal thieves Monday night. They stripped five air conditioning units there. It could cost the church almost $20,000 to replace all ten units.

It will cost Grace Emmanuel four thousand dollars to replace their unit, at a time they are struggling to help their neighbors.  "You hate to see somebody vandalize a church, cost a church more. Our giving is down, and with it being the Lord's House. And with the church's still being very committed to helping the downtrodden,"  Heard said.

So Reverend Heard is calling on people in the community to step up and give information to stop these thefts and other crime rampant in East Albany.

"I believe in mercy and I believe in grace. But I believe we have got to set a standard. Otherwise Albany is going to be extremely unsafe. And good people are going to find a way to get out."

Reverend Heard says his church knows they have to protect all the people who step into their House of the Lord, so they will step up security around the Church 24 hours a day.

If you have any information about these church air conditioner thefts, or the crime problems rampant in the Clark Avenue area, call CRIME STOPPERS at 436-TIPS.


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