Thieves Gut Air Conditioners at Chicago Church

Church officials discovered parts stolen before noon services on Sunday

By Melanie Kucera
|  Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013  |  Updated 12:32 PM CDT
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Thieves Gut Air Conditioners at Chicago Church

Joe Amigleo / NBCChicago.com

One of the gutted air conditioners on the roof of the church.

A South Side Chicago church and community center is without air conditioning after thieves gutted eight units over the weekend on the building's roof.

Christ Universal Church, on the 10100 block of South Halsted Street, was prepping for noon services Sunday when Bishop Paul Hall noticed the air conditioning wasn't working.

He called a repairman who found the units gutted and the copper, inner parts and compressors all taken. A crew making repairs Wednesday estimated the damage at up to $10,000 per unit. Bishop Hall said he doesn't know how they will pay for it and worries they will have to close.

"We need help," church officials said in a statement. "Who would steal from a center trying to work against gangs?"

The center serves as a safe haven for children during the week.

Temperatures heated up over the weekend and peaked on Tuesday. The National Weather Service says the record high of 97 degrees was set on this date in 1973. The mercury was just shy of that -- 96 degrees -- at about 1:58 p.m.

This isn't the first time the church was targeted. Thieves stole lights from Christ Universal several months ago. Though the church has surveillance cameras inside of the building, it doesn't have them outside.

Police are investigating the theft.
 

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