East Bibb County Church Still Devastated Over Stolen AC Unit Parts
A Middle Georgia church is still reeling after someone stripped its air conditioning units on Thursday.
Reverend Kendrick Collins made the announcement to the congregation at Swift Creek Baptist Church in East Bibb County on Sunday about another metal theft at their place of worship.
"It makes me feel just like you feel if you walk into your house and find out your house has been tampered with," Collins said.
On Thursday parts from 5 AC units at the church were stolen from within the protective cage they are in. However, this isn't the first time someone has tampered with the units. Earlier in the year, the church had to replace 3 AC units after someone vandalized them.
"We already been through this and got to go through it again," congregation member Hersher Parker said.
"I was heartbroken,” congregation member Linda Harris said. “We're trying to build and somebody keeps coming and vandalizing taking from the house of God."
After the first incident, the church put a cage around all there AC units on the property plus installed other safety measures but it didn't work.
"We just couldn't figure out how they were getting in n out of our cage,” Collins said. “We tried everything we could to make everything secure."
The cage looks pretty secure with a lock, an alarm system and even sensor detectors on the units. However, the cage’s Achilles heel was a large enough gaps in between each bar that a person can crawl through. Reverend Collins welded even more bars onto the cage on Saturday to prevent anyone from sneaking in again.
"I did modification on it yesterday where the big holes were I cut them down small," Collins said.
Collins said the fellowship hall uses the AC units and not the sanctuary.
"It's good that we are not depending on this right now," Collins said.
Collins and congregation members said the thought of replacing 5 AC units is daunting after shoveling out thousands of dollars to replace the ones from earlier this year.
"We have to come out of our pockets you know,” Harris said. “What we put in cannot go for helping others or building the church because we have to replace something that you know someone has taken or destroyed from the church."
"Yes it's a setback but we can overcome it through the faith of God," Collins said.
Bibb County deputies have arrested 32 - year - old Travis Ford and charged him with the crime. Collins said he will speak with the church's insurance company to see how it can help.