Thieves strike at Indianapolis church again, steal air conditioning units

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 13, 2015) – It’s a case of déjà vu for a local church.

Thieves struck again Friday morning at Barnes United Methodist Church on the near northwest side.

According to the Rev. Charles Harrison, more air conditioning units were stolen. He said the church alarm went off, and he saw a man running away from the area. He arrived at the church around 4:45 a.m.

Harrison reported damage to the church and noticed some of the units were missing. The church was hit earlier this week, when someone stole two air conditioning units.

"I'm beyond angry," Harrison said Friday morning. "We'll have to spend a lot of money to replace these air conditioners. This is absolutely absurd."

He had a message for the thieves.

"This is unnecessary... if you need help, there are people like me working hard every day to help you," he said.

The Church Within, located in Fountain Square, was the victim of two air conditioner thefts last year.Pastor Darren Chittick went to extreme measures to keep the thieves away.

"I'm sure we could have helped a lot more folks with that almost $12,000 than the thieves got from scrapping our air conditioning units," said Pastor Chittick.

The church air conditioning units now sit in a massive steel cage, surrounded by several cameras and a bright light.

"I hate that we had to spend all the time and money that we did, instead of the work we do as an organization," said Pastor Chittick.

Pastor Chittck reached out to Harrison via social media to let him know that he wasn't alone.

"You aren't the only one this has happened to and people need to recognize it's happening a lot,' said Pastor Chittick.
Both Chittick and Harrison said the thefts are sad reality the religious community is facing, but they hope to reach out and help the thieves behind the crime.

 

"You don't have to do this. We are going to get to the bottom of this and make sure you're brought to justice," said Rev. Harrison.

"I can't say that its not a little disheartening, and at the same time it's also invited us to say how can we reach out to the community more," said Pastor Chittick.

 

Harrison told FOX59 that thieves have targeted the units at the side of the building over the past few years. The church installed a fence and extra lighting to deter the thefts. Harrison said additional security measures would be put in place.