Church victimized by copper thieves for third time
Three downspouts worth about $3,000 were taken over the three-day weekend
Copper thieves have struck for the third time in half a year at a Mililani Catholic church, this time just before the Lenten season, which begins today -- Ash Wednesday.
Three copper downspouts valued at a total of about $3,000 were taken sometime during the three-day weekend from St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church. A maintenance worker noticed the theft yesterday morning from the side of the church along Kuahelani Avenue near the rectory and the back of the church.
"It's kind of sad because this is a place of worship" and that parishioners worked to put up the downspouts, said Adrian Gervacio, pastor of the church. "Why should it be done this time when we should be thinking of getting closer to God and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday?"
The copper theft might be the work of the same individuals who stole copper wiring from Leilehua High School over the weekend and three other locations in the Wahiawa area, according to a tip police have received.
Police Crime Reduction Unit officers are investigating the recent thefts and following up on the tip.
At Leilehua High, school employees noticed portable classrooms did not have electricity yesterday morning and discovered copper wires in the junction box had been cut, police said. About 200 feet of copper wiring valued at about $5,000 had been taken from the school at 1515 California Ave.
Copper wiring was also stolen Feb. 14 from a cell tower and a business' electrical panel, and from a recreation center Feb. 15, police said.
Downspouts at St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church were also stolen in August and replaced with new copper downspouts. Thieves took the new ones in December.
Now, church officials have decided against replacing the downspouts with copper ones and will replace them with some other material that will not attract thieves.