Rural churches targeted by scrap metal thieves
By: Carly O'Keefe
JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. - Police in Jackson County are investigating several cases of thefts from area churches.
In recent days, thieves have tampered with air conditioning compressor units at Fairview Christian Church near Murphysboro, Grimsby Church near Gorham, and Dutch Ridge Church near Pomona. All three are small, rural churches in low-traffic areas. Each case has resulted in either the theft or damage to the compressor unit.
Police say the thieves after the copper or aluminum elements inside the air conditioning units to sell as scrap. The price of those metals are up, but that scrap comes at a high cost to the small churches that don't have money to fix something that, until thieves came along, wasn't broken.
"We're in a rural community and they patrol, but we can't be here 24-7. I just can't believe someone would take from a church," said Terry Reese, a trustee for Dutch Ridge Church.
Police encourage small churches and folks at home to keep an eye on their compressor units to make sure they haven't been tampered with. Otherwise it could be months before it's time to crank up the air conditioning and you realize you've been robbed.