By Paula Walter
Its been approximately three weeks since several hundred feet of copper wiring leading to the air conditioning unit on top of the roof of the Hebron Colony Ministries building was severed. The downtown area of Mountain City has been no stranger to break-ins and vandalism of this kind in the past.
Despite some warm and humid days, Hebron Colony Ministries had been without air conditioning since the incident occurred. This past week, electricians were busy replacing the feeder conductors that run from the unit to the building itself. The conduit was actually broken apart as the vandals attempted to obtain the copper from the unit. The price that can be obtained from the copper is minimal compared to the damage the thieves cause to heating and air conditioning units, hot water tanks, refrigerators and piping, causing damage that can reach tens of thousands of dollars. Wires and pipes do not have serial numbers, making it difficult to trace the stolen property.
According to several storeowners, businesses were hit late last year along Main Street with several incidents of copper being removed from a refrigerator, as well as the theft of an entire air conditioning unit. One local shop was broken into two nights in a row. Not only was money missing, but also several thousand dollars worth of items were stolen. According to Mountain City Police, two of these cases were solved while the others remain open.
While there are some leads in the Hebron Colony Ministries case, no one has been charged at this time.
By Paula Walter