(WMC-TV) - Royal Chapel CME Church is just the latest victim of a series of thefts happening across Marshall County.
Behind its sanctuary, the church's high-priced air conditioners were recently ripped apart by thieves who stole copper coils out of the units.
"They're taking the air conditioner coils out of the units and taking them and selling them for scrap," said Major Kelly McMillen of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department.
According to McMillen, more than a dozen churches and new homes in the county have recently been hit by thieves. For victims, the crimes can be very expensive.
"They get approximately 300 dollars for the coil, and it costs several thousand dollars to replace the unit," he said.
In an effort to stop the copper thefts, deputies are warning anyone with outdoor AC units to lock them up. Investigators are also putting together reward money and plan to offer it to anyone who can help them catch the copper thieves.
Investigators say the thefts have been happening at all hours of the day and night. And while authorities believe multiple suspects are involved, many of the crimes seem to follow similar patterns.
"It looks like possibly that they may be driving in, letting somebody out, and leaving, and once they get what they're there for, which is the coils, the copper, maybe they call them back and pick them up," Kelley said.
If you have information about the thefts, call the Marshall County Sheriff's Department at (931)-359-6122.