Up to $10,000 reward offered for copper thieves

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PHOENIX – Things are heating up in the sanctuary at Mount Olives Lutheran Church near the corner of 35th Street and Thomas.

There is no air conditioning because thieves stole the copper. 

“For $145, they caused $2,400 worth of damage,” said Pastor Priscilla Paris-Austin.

This is the second time in less than a month copper thieves have hit Mt. Olives Church.

“We put the fence up on Wednesday, barbed wire on Thursday and Thursday night they came.”

Police say that when the price of copper goes up so do thefts. Over the weekend 30 air conditioning units were torn apart for copper.

School officials estimated the repair cost to be more than $360,000.

“The Valley is having a huge problem with metal thefts,” said Silent Witness Sgt. Darren Burch. “Everything from schools to churches and now public utilities.”

Thieves are targeting utility sub-stations and because of that APS, SRP and Silent Witness have teamed up to offer up to $10,000 in reward money for the arrest of these vandals.

In the meantime, the hot church in the middle of Phoenix has to come up with $1,000 to pay the insurance deductible, an amount of money they’d rather put towards something else. 

“A thousand dollars, our food closet ministry could feed people for a month,” said Pastor Paris-Austin.

If you’d like to help the church, they ask that you email mtoolchurch@questoffice.net.