Thieves vandalize and steal from brand new church - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thieves vandalize and steal from brand new church

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(WMC-TV) - A Memphis pastor is cleaning up after thieves left a mess at his church just weeks before it was set to open.

Members of the Eureka True Vine Baptist Church were scheduled to fill the sanctuary for the very first time on June 2. Now, the church opening is going to be delayed after thieves helped themselves to the church's property.

When Pastor Frederick Tappan stopped by the church earlier this week, he noticed the fuse boxes at the back of the building were damaged and the wiring had been cut.

"They were looking for copper. Copper is going for $160 to 260 dollars a pound," he said.

Pastor Tappan says the thieves even crawled up on the roof and stole copper wiring from the air conditioners.

"Coils. They took eight coils out of the air conditioners, out of the heaters, and knew where each one was," said Tappan.

They even broke into the church, busting up baseboards to take copper wiring from there.

Pastor Tappan says he and others at the church have already forgiven whoever is responsible.

"We've all had our time of desperation and it if it had not been for God having grace upon us, we might have done the same thing," he added.

Tappan estimates damages to the church will range anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000, including the labor and materials to replace everything.

He believes more than one person visited the church on more than one occasion to do so much damage.

"I'm undaunted because this is where we asked to be and we know the area isn't what it used to be and we can be a beacon of hope again," Tappan continued.

The pastor says there may be several leads in this case. If you have information that can help police solve the crime, call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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