A.C. Unit Thefts Costly for Local Churches

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - Pastors across the Central Arkansas area have been forced to hold church service with no air conditioners. Especially unbearable during hot summer months.

Thieves have been targeting the air conditioner units at local churches for the copper wiring inside. Rendering the units unusable and costing the churches tens of thousand to replace.

Father Francis Damoah was interrupted as he was going to begin service last Sunday at St. Augustine Church in North Little Rock.

"When I came out lo and behold they had stolen our two A.Cs," Father Damoah said.

However the priest who can best be described as an eternal optimist, held service that day anyway.

"People were fanning themselves and we had to open the door for the air to go in ," he said. "But we also had a good service without the air condition."

St. Augustine is in the heart of a poor North Little Rock neighborhood, so Father Damoah know the cost of replacing the A.C. down to the dollar.

"$11, 442," he said. "Here we need faith, faith can carry us through difficult times."

Even across the river in Little Rock, the air conditioning units at churches are hot commodities.

Units at Bethel AME Church have been stolen three different times. So instead of letting it happen again they've decided to bolt them to the floor.

"We have taken measures to make sure it doesn't happen again," said Pastor D. Lavel Crawford.

He said the ultimate irony is Bethel has given this community what they need during desperate times for almost 150 years, and he said they would have gladly given the thieves the small amount they ended up with.

"We were betrayed for $30 worth of copper! " he said. "It's unbelievable."

"Can you imagine taking something worth $11,442," said Father Damoah, "And exchanging it for ten dollars?"

Both men of faith said when facing such injustice they can at least always turn to their religion.

"Material things are not eternal," said Father Damoah, "And when you have God with you, you can overcome all things."

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