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Chesterfield Police catch man accused of stealing copper downspouts from 5 churches, 2 banks

Posted at 7:28 PM, Jan 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-28 10:00:23-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Water pools around the foundation of Central Baptist Church. That's because someone stole a downspouts from the building.

Johnny Long, 27, is accused of doing just that.

"No, it does not surprise me. But it does make me sad," said Reverend David Turner, the senior pastor of Central Baptist Church.

Central Baptist Church is one of nearly a half dozen Chesterfield churches where copper downspouts have been stolen over the past month.

Turner says this is the second time for them.

"Just immense frustration at having to deal with this again,” Turner explained. “The inconvenience of having to replace the downspout."

Investigators say Long was allegedly involved in other copper thefts including two Wells Fargo banks on Hull Street Road.

"We had a couple of eyewitnesses who saw the vehicle," said Lt. Steve Grohowski of the Chesterfield County Police.

Grohowski said officers stopped Long on Saturday and discovered some copper downspouts in the back of his truck.

"We tend to see those on a little bit older buildings as opposed to the newer construction," said Grohowski.

CBS 6 caught up with Long's mother at her Chesterfield home.

"I'm sorry that he's done it,” she said. “But I mean I can't speak for him. I can only speak for myself."

When asked if they were trying to get him help, she replied, “Yes, I have been trying. Yes."

Back at Central Baptist church, Turner says detectives returned the stolen downspouts. But, he says they'll have more than a higher power watching over them.

"We'll make sure that we have more cameras with better angles," said Turner.

Turner says that Long has confessed to the crime, but Chesterfield police are not confirming that.  Investigators said the copper in eight of the stolen downspouts are worth up to $25,000. But, added that you would get a lot less at a scrap yard.

Long is behind bars with no bond. He goes back to court next month.