It’s been two months since the Providence Baptist Church near Smithton became a crime victim. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Captain Dave Keller, with the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office:

Dave Keller

“Someone stole the three to five ton air conditioning unit from the church in the middle of one night. You could see where it had been cut off either using bolt cutters. Or a lot of that stuff is copper, and lopping shears will do it just fine. They’re probably there less than two minutes. It’s an easy steal,” said Keller.

The unit is worth about $5,000, but the thieves will likely only get about $300 for the copper. Rural churches are especially vulnerable to this type of crime.

“Almost all of them have air conditioners, and in the week nights, in the middle of the night, there’s no one there to see what goes on. And it usually isn’t noticed being gone until the following Sunday morning when the air conditioner doesn’t work. And by that time the copper coils out of that air conditioner have been melted or smashed, and sold to some salvage yard someone.”

The theft occurred at the church on Highway 135 sometime between September 1st and 4th. The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate. They ask anyone with information to contact the TIPS hotline at (660) 827-TIPS (8477) or text the tip to (660) 281-6501.