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Copper Thieves Target Leechburg Church

By Kym Gable

LEECHBURG (KDKA) -- For crooks looking to cash in quickly, it's a hot commodity.

Copper wire thefts are still a growing crime in our area, and the Faith Community Bible Church in Leechburg is one of the latest targets -- a church still battling its insurance company after its roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in 2010.

Thieves broke in three times over the past week, according to Pastor Michael Kelley.

He told KDKA's Kym Gable, "Each time, they made it a little bit further. The police kept advising us not to touch anything, leave it as it was so they could get the fingerprints … and as a result, when they broke in last week, they were able to steal all of the wire basically, and shut down the power to the entire church."

Pastor Kelley had been holding services in another room, but with no power, there's no worship. They're looking for another space in the community where the congregation can gather.

"We have been blessed with what God has given us, but by the time we pay our taxes and the heating and the expenses that everybody has, there's not much left," he said.

Kelley said while the thieves may have taken material possessions, they cannot take their faith.

"We're going through a trial, we will persevere," he said.

Police continue to investigate, but admit they weren't able to dust for prints or gather evidence before the thieves came back to the church and took everything.

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