Church robbed of AC unit
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A string of robberies targeting South Florida churches have been leaving many feeling the heat after crooks again stole off with important and pricey appliances.
It is believed crooks swiped the air conditioning units then sold the copper content for scrap. The latest incident occurred over the weekend at New Jerusalem Missionary Church, and it makes for an expense that this congregation just cannot afford.
This most recent theft happened Saturday night and left the electrical system damaged on one unit and a second unit once located behind a fence gone. "This is the second time," noted Rev. James Smith of the crime.
For months churches in South Florida have been losing AC units, which were stolen for scrap and a few bucks but leaving the houses of worship with thousands of dollars worth of damage. In fact, this church faces anywhere up to $4,000 in repairs and replacement costs for fixing and replacing the stolen unit.
Nobie Watkins of Integrity A/C said the crooks who made off with this unit can expect to make about $100 for the copper and scrap metal inside the unit. "As prices of steel and aluminum and copper go up, it's going to be more and more frequent," he said.
Smith has a theory why so many churches have been recently targeted by thieves looking to strip air conditioners. "Honestly, I think that these people who are stealing the air conditioners, they think, well, because it's a church, they see money. They think the church is able to get a new air conditioning, or they think they can replace it, but in a lot of cases, like in our instance, we don't have the resources to just go out and write a check to get another air conditioning unit."
Adding to the brazen quality of this latest crime, a Broward Sheriff's Office substation is located down the street, within sight of where the air conditioner was once located.
If you have any information on this theft, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of $1,000.
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