Parishioner: ‘Man upstairs will take care of’ Caroline church thieves

Posted at 1:49 PM, Mar 20, 2014

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va.  -- Someone stole at least a half dozen HVAC units from churches around Carolina County.

In each theft, the units were taken from outside of the building and nothing was stolen from the inside church.

"It's a shame that somebody would do such to a church," said Brenda Woolfolk, who said church members discovered an air-conditioning and heating unit missing from Mount Salem Baptist last Saturday after choir rehearsal.

"When I turned on the unit in there, it didn't come on. So, with the snow and what have you, we just assumed that it was a storm malfunction," Woolfolk said.

The thieves had stolen the unit right off church property.

"Look at the economy and a lot of people have to survive.  And they don't care.  They don't give a damn who they steal from," said Woolfolk.

CBS 6 found out that Mount Salem Baptist Church was just one church targeted by thieves. In fact, culprits took air-conditioning and heating units from Mount Tabor Baptist Church and also swiped a unit from nearby Mount Oni Baptist Church.

CBS 6 News asked the Caroline County Sheriff's Office about their investigation. However, CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones was told Sheriff Tony Lippa was unavailable and that no information would be released because of the department's ongoing investigation.

Heating and Cooling experts said the HVAC systems can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000. They said it is against the law to resell them since the units have to be installed by have to be licensed and certified installers.

However, thieves often take the units  apart and sell the valuable copper and sheet metal inside.

Woolfolk has a word of warning for whoever stole the units.

"You're a low down person. Who would steal from God's house? The man upstairs will take care of that," said Woolfolk.

If you have information that could help investigators, call the Caroline County Sheriff's Office at 804-633-5400.



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