ISLE OF WIGHT -- Thieves have recently been targeting local Isle of Wight churches to steal scrap metal, officials said Thursday.
According to Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Rick Gaddis, scrap metal theft and subsequent sale to scrap dealers is a longstanding regional problem.
Gaddis says between December 1 and 8, outside heating and air-conditioning units were stolen from Union Bethel AME Church and Mill Swamp Baptist Church.
Copper drain pipes worth $12,000 were also stolen between December 12 and 13 from historic St. Luke’s Church. The church went through a $500,000 restoration last year, which included the 6 copper pipes that were stolen.
Authorities believe the thefts are happening during the evening and at night when churches are not occupied.
All three cases are pending investigation.
If you know the identity of these thieves, or can identify scrap metal dealers who knowingly
purchase stolen property, please call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.