The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office is urging vigilance by community members as a way to combat recent copper thefts at Fairfield County churches. Within the last week, three incidents of vandalism and metal theft have occurred, leading officers to believe more buildings may be at risk. Officers believe the thefts may be occurring at night.
On Wed., July 26 St. John AME church at 4774 U.S. Highway 321 N reported three of its air conditioning units were vandalized. The church was not broken into but the units had their tops torn off, the wire caging cut off and pieces of the units were pulled out. Officers say the theft could have happened a few days prior to its being discovered.
On July 31 Weeping Mary Baptist Church was vandalized and three air conditioning units were broken into. No criminal activity was noted inside the church and everything appeared to be in place there. Metal was stolen from the air conditioning units, though.
On Wednesday, Captain Douglas reported another metal theft that occurred at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church on U.S. Hwy 321. All of these investigations remain ongoing.
The sheriff’s department believes there is a strong likelihood these crimes are connected since they all took place at churches near U.S. Highway 321.
Captain Douglas said that churches are easier targets for thieves because they sit empty much of the week.
He encouraged residents to keep their eyes open for suspicious behavior.
“If you notice anything suspicious at all, a suspicious vehicle at a church, please give us a call,” Douglas said. “If people happen to be at the church legitimately we think that the folks will appreciate the vigilance also.”