Copper thieves leave church in lurch

Posted at: 12/17/2012 6:13 PM
Updated at: 12/17/2012 6:29 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It seems copper thieves will go just about anywhere to steal the metal. Whether it's a home, business, or most recently, a church. Sunday night, thieves made off with a couple hundred dollars worth of copper from a Northeast Heights church. With that one selfish act, dozens of people were left in a bind.

"Shame on you. how could you do this?" Is all Gigi Chinisci could say. For many families, St. Andrew's is more than just a church. The Chiniscis depend on the "Share Your Care" program St. Andrew's provides for their son David. David has Cerebral Palsy, and on a typical day would be cared for at the church. Monday he had to stay home. The copper theft left the church without power, according to Chinisci.

"For someone to do this, they're animals to me. they're just lower than an animal. Terrible. Especially this time of year, and that so much tragedy is going on the last few days. And that this will still happen. It just breaks my heart. It angers me. But I think it saddens me more than it angers me," Chinisci said.

Church officials told us at least 30 people who would have normally spent the day in their care had to stay home or come up with other arrangements. For all the havoc the thieves caused, they didn't get away with much, according to the electicrical contractor Steve Cunningham of D.R.B. Electric.

"They got a couple hundred dollars worth of copper. It will cost the church, you know, probably a couple thousand," Cunningham said.

Pastor Frank Yates hoped it will get harder for thieves to cash in. "We're probably going to have a bill of two to three thousand dollars of damage. And yes, we'll have insurance. I'm thinking of all those other small businesses and churches that don't have this kind of insurance coverage. That this is a huge expense," Yates said.

For Gigi Chinisci, they didn't just steal some copper. "They take your faith in mankind," Chinisci said.

The contractor spent the entire day rewiring the church. They hope to have the power back on Tuesday.