MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Not once, not twice, but three times in a matter of days the Living Life in Victory Church has been hit by burglars looking to score copper.
The average price of copper at a scrap metal yard is $2.25 per pound.
It's not a huge payoff, but enough for thieves to cause thousands of dollars in damage just to cash in.
Last Wednesday Pastor Henry Lavender detailed where burglars broke and gutted the ceiling to get copper from air conditioning units.
The building is being renovated into a job training center.
It doesn't yet have full electricity so members believe it's been an easy target.
On Monday night thieves went back to take more.
By Tuesday evening Pastor Lavender and his members decided they'd had enough and set up make-shift surveillance to catch the crooks in the act.
They put in portable lights and watched the building from their phones using cameras in place across the street.
Wednesday morning around 3 a.m. members saw the lights go out and called police. "They fell into the trap," first lady Lori Lavender said.
When officers arrived they arrested 24-year-old Deandre Bramlett on the scene.
Members of the church say this ordeal has been especially frustrating because of their community outreach.
"We've been putting a lot of work into getting this building going and it's emotional and it hurts because we're working hard," Travis Curry said.
“We’re trying to make a better life for everybody in this whole community and trying to bring us all back up and it’s a major setback and we really hate it,” Thomas Hall said.