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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
The Calvary Independent Baptist Church in Birmingham has had it with copper thieves. Now, their insurance company has had it with the church. State Farm is dropping the church as a customer.
State Farm has paid $36,000 to replace ruined air conditioning units three times. In March, when thieves ripped copper out two of the church's four air conditioning units, State Farm paid to have them replaced. After that, Pastor Phil Clayton met with the air conditioning company and they decided rod iron covers built into concrete would prevent further thefts. Before those covers were delivered the next day, thieves hit again. Then in May, thieves broke into one of the covers and destroyed a unit.
"So now we're at the place where we can't get them replaced until we get more security up and that's what we're working on. We're not a rich church, we don't have a lot of money, so we're just trying to get donations together to get it taken care of," said Pastor Clayton.
But it is not just the money; it is the heat that is the problem now. In the sanctuary, where the members would normally hold service, it is simply too hot for anyone to gather and it is only going to get hotter through the summer.
State farm responded to our request for the reason they dropped the church:
"Every policy has its own unique circumstance and is reviewed on a case by case basis; sometimes we have to make these very difficult decisions so we can help keep rates affordable for all our State Farm customers..."
The statement went on to say:
"When reviewing policies, we consider factors such as tenure, type of policy, claim activity and history; that sometimes means we have to make the tough decision to part company with a long-term policyholder."
Pastor Clayton understands State Farms' concern, But he says State Farm never sent out an adjuster or offered advice on how to prevent further thefts.
"I understand their point of view and I totally consider it, but why do you have insurance? …Now we're just left out in the cold, no help at all," Pastor Clayton.