Mar 18, 2023

3 air conditioning units ripped apart; parts stolen from Jackson church

AC thieves leave The Church of Restoration suffering in the heat with $59K bill

AC thieves leave The Church of Restoration suffering in the heat with $59K bill

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AC thieves leave The Church of Restoration suffering in the heat with $59K bill

Thieves burglarized a Jackson church, stealing air conditioning units and cutting electrical wire.

J. Artie Stuckey, the pastor of The Church of Restoration on Belvedere Drive, said he first noticed a problem when he came by choir rehearsal. He said he flipped on the thermostat inside the church, but the temperature didn't change.

"And we were like, ‘This is not cooling, and we don't even hear anything,’" Stuckey said.

Stuckey said he went outside to see what was wrong.

"When I came out, I came out to basically what you see now: compressors being stolen, electrical wires being ripped out," he said.

Stuckey said in the last couple of weeks, burglars made two trips to the church. They ripped apart and stole three air conditioning units and cut electrical wires connecting the units to the building.

"We had somebody come out and just give us an estimate. They told us it would take a month to complete the repair, and it's going to cost us $59,000," Stuckey said.

The front door now has a huge chain and padlock on it after the crooks tried to break in. The church is now forced to use portable fans during Sunday morning worship service inside a gymnasium, which doubles as a place where local groups hold weekend and summer basketball camps for children and teens.

"Now, if they do that, they’re going to have to do it in this unbearable heat because we can't provide air-conditioning for them," Stuckey said. "It's been pretty rough."

Stuckey believes the burglary looks like a professional job by somebody who knew what they were doing. But he's surprised they would target a house of worship.

"They didn't just hurt us as a church. They hurt the opportunity for some kids every summer, an opportunity to be in here," he said.

Stuckey said he filed two reports with the Jackson Police Department. He said the insurance company won't cover the cost of replacing the stolen equipment.

JACKSON, Miss. —