Crooks target copper inside Akron church's AC unit

Gates of Praise Worship Center is a new church in Akron. (Source: WOIO)
Gates of Praise Worship Center is a new church in Akron. (Source: WOIO)

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - An Akron church is trying hard to maintain a forgiving attitude since it was targeted by thieves.

This is not the first time the church has been hit, and it's causing some expensive problems.

In the latest incident, thieves stole the air conditioning unit attached to the church. Police say they'll probably sell the copper from the wiring inside.

Dr. J. Louis Harris was shocked to find something missing from his church in Akron this past weekend. The church pastor says he's willing to forgive, but this is devastating.

"I took the tarp off this, and this is what I found," he said, pointing to the air conditioning unit, which has been stripped bare.

It's just a cage of what it was before.

"The HVAC guy that came out says that's $30-40 of materials worth stolen," he said.

But it will cost a lot more money to fix, an estimated $4,000.

Gates of Praise Worship Center is a pretty new church in the Kenmore neighborhood. They've been around for two and a half years.

"It's God's house and we have wonderful people that we minister to," Harris said.

Harris says the thieves could have struck anytime over the winter, since that's how long the AC unit has been covered.

"How could someone steal from a church? We've had break-ins here, all sorts of incidents here," he said.

Back in December, someone broke into their donation room and made off with a bike. But it was the repairs that cost the most money.

"The back door was broken into, almost torn off the frame," Harris said.

Harris' wife says the vandalism is really adding up, especially since they are already making a lot of necessary repairs inside of the church building.

"It's a struggle because we're a small church, we haven't been here long, and so by the time we build our account up, we're depleting it," she said.

Harris thinks someone may have heard all of the commotion when the thieves made away with the AC unit. Cleveland 19 asked him what he would say to them if they're caught.

"We would ask him to come in and just apologize. Because we know he can't do anything else. Just come in the church, apologize. We forgive him," Harris said.

Police have no suspects right now.

Those who would like to help out the church can make donations to Peoples Bank in Akron under the church's name, Gates of Praise Worship Center.

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