Police: Thieves Targeting KCK Church AC Units

| August 7, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Police said criminals are targeting churches on the west side of Kansas City, Kan.

Authorities said crooks have been stealing parts from air-conditioning units in the area. As many as nine air conditioners have been stolen. officials have decided to focus community policing in the area to crack down on the crimes.

"That's a sad statement about society to hit churches to make a little profit," said church member Phyllis Kopp.

Kansas City, Kansas' community policing effort has jumped into action, sending 90 fliers to churches in the city alerting them to the crime spree. Community policing officers such as Elaine Moore have been visiting churches to do crime prevention walk-throughs to help the churches protect themselves.

"These units are a huge problem, and I'm going to tell you why," she said. "The first problem is they're all open. They're not contained at all. You look at this part. This is what thieves are looking for. This is exactly what they're taking out."

Moore gave church members on Friday several tips about adding more lights throughout the church and protecting existing lights so thieves can't remove or break them. Moore said churches that can't afford the fencing around the units are encouraged to bolt them down or wrap them with chains.

"Most criminals don't want to be seen," she said. "They want to get in and out. If it takes 15 minutes then they don't want to do it."

Police said thieves are pulling out the copper and scrapping it for cash. Officers said they want people to be on the lookout for gutted air-conditioning units in their neighborhoods so police can track the thieves who are hitting the churches.

"What we want is for them to be aware what of the AC coils like so if they see this they can call us or send up a red flag," said Capt. Victor Webb.

Police said the thieves are only getting a few hundred dollars for the metal depending on how big the unit is, but the replacing the units can cost the churches thousands.



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Category: Church Security

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