Normally a hot bed of activity, the pews at First Baptist of North Tulsa just sat hot and empty on Wednesday.
"We've canceled services for the week due to the uncomfortable nature of the temperature," said Pastor Anthony Scott, his church hit Sunday night by copper thieves.
"They pulled this up and actually went, crawled underneath," he demonstrated.Several of their A/C units left in pieces, and First Baptist wasn't the only victim."We just replaced this one today," said Pastor Thomas Clardy of St. Peter's Baptist Church. He was experiencing air conditioner theft déjà vu."Twice in two months," he said.And just down the block at Varick Zion Church, two more A/C units sat ravaged."These individuals are determined to get these units," said Officer Leland Ashley of the Tulsa police department.The crimes unfortunately, are not an uncommon occurrence."They're taking it to a local scrap metal dealer and they're selling it as their property and they're getting rid of it," said Ashley.Berean Missionary Church had three three thefts in two years, prompting a Fort Knox approach of A/C protection, something First Baptist is planning on."We've got to spend in excess of $10,000 just to secure and make sure they're safe and it doesn't happen again," said Pastor Scott.In the meantime, there's a new sign on one of the units to remind thieves of moral surveillance, "Jesus is Watching." Which, being a church, raises the issue of turning the other cheek."Rather than taking from us, just come and tell us what your need is and we'll certainly attempt to provide," said Pastor Scott."We're praying for them," said Pastor Clardy.And should those sinners not embrace a different path, heaven help the kind of temperatures they'll face come judgement day."Well you know we do believe in punishment hereafter," grinned Pastor Scott."If you don't repent, yes, fire and brimstone in their future," said Pastor Clardy.