Pastors at Swift Creek Missionary Baptist and Swift Creek United Methodist are picking up the pieces after 9 air conditioning units were destroyed between both churches.·
"They came in, cut the lock on the gate and after that they tore up 6 of our air conditioning units," says Pastor Donnie Bryant, Swift Creek Missionary Baptist.
These crimes are happening all over Middle Georgia. Churches are common places where thieves can find copper and easily trade it in for cash. Since January, 49 copper thefts have been reported in Bibb County. In the past two weeks 5 people were arrested.
"We've made several arrests but there's several more out there," says Captain Mike Smallwood, Bibb County.
Georgia law stipulates that the offenders could be charged with one or more felonies. This could land offenders in state prison for up to 5 years. Smallwood says that despite tough penalties, a majority of those convicted are likely to commit the crime again.
"For one thing it's an easy crime, there are a lot of places to sell metals, and the second thing is that this is almost their job," says Jonathan Adams, Assistant District Attorney, Bibb County.
Pastor Bryant says the damages at Missionary Baptist will cost nearly $20,000. Investigators are still looking for the people responsible for these crimes. Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-877-68CRIME.