Thieves steal from church again

July 28, 2008 4:41:54 PM PDT
Members of a South Jersey congregation want to know just who would steal from a church.It's the second time in two days thieves violated the sanctity of Bethel AME Church. Last night, someone broke in and stole a laptop used by children at the century old house of worship on Phillips Street in Camden.

Just yesterday, members endured oppressive heat at Sunday services, after burglars stole copper piping and the $4,000 air compressors that power central air conditioning units needed to cool the church. Most members of the financially strapped church are senior citizens.

"It makes your heart hurt because you work so hard in the trying to make it pleasant then all of a sudden it's snatched away from you," Mable Hall, 75, said.

An Action News viewer saw a story we aired yesterday on the churches plight and wants to help. He owns an air conditioning and refrigeration business and plans to replace the stolen compressors.

"I'm delighted for humankind to know that God still has people in the world that would come to one's rescue," Reverend Wade said.

Just over a week ago, burglars stole a compressor from a locked iron cage outside Macedonia AME church on 3rd and Spruce. Police are investigating similar thefts at several Camden churches.

"For us to be hit is almost like a slap in the face. But on the other hand it makes you feel bad for the people that did it. Anyone that is so hardcore that you can purposely and intentionally steal from churches, that person is really in need of prayer," Reverend Mark Tyler said.

Congregants pray the burglaries will stop. Many suspect the units were stolen for sale to a nearby scrap metal business.

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