Thieves target church for the second time in six months - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Thieves target church for the second time in six months

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

You might say the faith of the congregation at the Sanctuary Baptist Church is being tested - hard.  For the second time in six months a thief or thieves busted into the church's heating and air conditioning system.

Pastor Mark Smith came back from Thanksgiving to find that the church's fellowship hall didn't have heat.  

"We looked out into the parking lot and noticed that the whole system had been gutted out," says smith.

The thief or thieves got away with copper and some other components of the HVAC system.  The church's insurance company just paid 30 thousand dollars for a brand new system that the last thief busted.

"The units are expensive to us, but at a junkyard you get pennies on the dollar for what they are worth to us," says Jammie Prater, Director of Ministries at the church.

Luckily, this time the entire system wasn't wiped out, but there's no telling how much it's going to cost to fix what's been torn apart again.

The church's fellowship hall that now doesn't have heat is the place that the church opens up to the community.  They host everything from funerals to AA meetings there.  Five hundred meals are scheduled to be served inside on Christmas day to those in need. Now, the congregation will have to somehow come up with one thousand dollars to pay their insurance deductible. And what if this happens again?

"Hindsight - maybe we put up a fence. Maybe we put a pit bull up there," added Prater.

Their sense of humor is still in tact, and most definitely their faith.

"Instead of taking a chance on killing yourself, knock on the door. That's what we are here for. We are a beacon of light in the community to extend that helping hand," says Prater.

Cleveland Police are expected to investigate.

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