Church members steaming over AC Unit theft

WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — This Father’s Day, one Walker County Church will be dealing with high temperatures without air-conditioning in their sanctuary because of Wednesday theft. The Walker County Sheriff’s Office says it happened in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon.

The good news is the church is insured. The bad news is this is not the first time this is happened. In fact, associate pastor Johnny Paschal says they’ve lost three air-conditioning units prior to this in four separate incidents. Paschal is keeping his fingers crossed that the church’s insurance company won’t drop them or raise their rates.

Either way he expects the theft to cost the church at least $1000 to replace the unit because of their deductible.

Law enforcement officers in Walker County say the copper inside the unit almost certainly isn’t worth more than $100 at a scrap yard, and is probably worth $50 or less.

“This is the first time that I have ever heard of them break through a cage to steal one,” said Johnny Paschal, Associate Pastor of Starview Baptist Church. “But if they’ll do it to us, they’ll do it to any of the churches and that’s what worries me.”

“They managed to fasten something to it, pull it lose broke it broke it, pulled it out of the way so they could get to the unit and then they just fastened to the unit apparently and pulled it out because our alarm systems did have connections to the unit to where if it was touched even it would set the alarm off,” said Paschal.

Walker County residents tell WIAT 42 News that the crime makes their blood boil.

“It’s terrible. It’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard that somebody could take from a church and take from the people that go to the church and they can’t even stay cool while they’re having services,” said Sharon Naramore.

“Stealing from anybody is bad enough, but stealing from the, the house of the Lord, you’re going to get yours. The judge may not be able to give it to you but the ultimate judge can,” said Yvonne Trayweek.

Johnny Paschal was born and raised in Walker County. He says stealing from a church was unthinkable when he was growing up.

“The church was sacred to them even to those that would do crimes back then,” said Paschal.

The church is located on Cedar Lake Road near Tutwiler Road near the outskirts of Parrish, Alabama.

At press time the Walker County Sheriff’s Office had not reported any arrests in the case. Investigators are asking anyone with information about the theft, or anyone who saw a suspicious vehicle such as a truck with a trailer at Starview Baptist Church on Wednesday to contact the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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