Several Dooly County churches are the latest target for copper thieves, and according to investigators, the damages are in the thousands.
Rock Hill Church, Pleasant Hill Freewill Baptist Church, and Shady Grove CME Church are now missing their air conditioning units, which has left the churches out more than $12,000.
Dooly County Investigator, Randy Lamberth, says churches have become targets because no one occupies them during the week.
Fred Haddock is a member of Shady Grove CME Church, and says he never expected his church to fall prey to the very souls he prays for and says, "I'm disappointed in mankind. If you have no respect for [the church] then you have lost your respect for humanity."
According to Haddock, his church installed its AC unit less than 3 years ago and it cost $4500. He says, "I never expected us to have a unit that was missing."
Investigators also believe that the thefts are taking place in the middle of the day, and the crimes are being covered up by a fake air conditioning repair company.
Lamberth says, "It's your people that don't want to work, but yet they are going out and stealing to make their dollars. You really wouldn't think nothing about it in the daytime, whereas if it would be at night."
The increase in thefts has forced the Dooly County Sheriff's Office to increase patrol around churches. Investigators do have a person of interest in custody, but believe more than one group is targeting the churches.