CREATED Jul. 22, 2013
North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Members of a Valley church are praying for justice after copper thieves targeted their future worship hall twice last week.
Tried Stone Baptist Church on West Carey Avenue near Losee Road said upwards of 300 feet of copper pipe are missing from the new building after someone broke in on Thursday and again on Friday.
"When you stoop that low to stealing from the Lord, you'll do anything," said Charles Smith, church deacon.
The building has been under construction for years and is expected to eventually replacing the existing church next door. Church members said they locked the doors of the newer structure but believe someone may be getting in through metal sheets on the walls.
"You know, you really can't stop a thief," said Smith. "You can slow them down. We're doing the best we can do."
It's unclear exactly how much it will cost to replace the materials.
"I can't understand people coming in here, taking what little we have," said Mary Smith Wheaton, pastor's aide.
North Las Vegas Police said they received two reports last week of stolen copper in the building. They're investigating the case as a burglary. But police have no description of the burglar or evidence linking anyone to the crime, said spokesman Tim Bedwell.
Construction on the building first started about eight years ago but stopped after two years because of issues with the original contractor. Church members were hoping to finally finish the building and move in this year.
"Every time it seems we're getting some place, something just pulls us back down," said Smith Wheaton.
Police said they work with local recycling yards in hopes of tracking down the thieves. The new contractor for the project and the church's insurance company are expected back this week to get a better estimate on the loss.