Copper Pipes Stolen from Church

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CLEVELAND -- Someone has no regard for the eighth commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Steal."

St. Nicholas Croatian Byzantine Catholic Church on Superior Avenue serves a small congregation on Cleveland's eastside. For the second time in two months, the church has become a victim of theft.

Someone is taking copper pipes from the air conditioners on the side of the rectory.

Deacon Michael Lee and his family live above the rectory. His son first became aware that someone was tampering with the air conditioning units Friday morning.

"He could hear the freon and the oil spraying out from the cut pipes. He ran into my room and said 'Dad, the air conditioning has been cut again," said Deacon Lee.

The same thing happened on July 1. Both times, the thief made off with very little copper compared to the great hardship to the church.

The units cost about $3,500 each, and just like the first time, both air conditioners are ruined.

"He destroyed $7,000 worth of stuff for $5 worth of copper. I'd had gladly given him a ten-spot to leave the units alone," he added.

The church is determining if it can afford to replace the air conditioning units a second time.

Anyone with information about the copper theft is asked to call the Cleveland Police Department.

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