JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is sending a crime alert to area houses of worship. The department is trying to find the suspect or suspects involved with seven reported thefts involving air conditioning units.
The department reports parts of air conditioning units or in some cases entire units have been taken from 6 churches. One church was hit twice. A pizza business was also recently targeted. Sheriff's deputies are also aware of three similar crimes in two municipalities within Jefferson County.
"It's unfortunate," said Capt. Ron Arnhart, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. "A lot of churches are out helping the community and here now they are going to have an added expense of having to make those repairs."
The alert asks area churches to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and call the sheriff's department. Arnhart says citizens can call 636-797-9999 to report anything suspicious. He says at this point his department has no leads.
Arnhart says cages that cover air conditioning units and surveillance systems are two ways to try and stop the crime. Arnhart suspects the thieves are selling the stolen copper for scrap. It's a crime that's been a problem in the St. Louis area for years.
Arnhart suspects the recent thefts are connected, but says he won't know for sure unless his department is able to make an arrest.
Here are the locations of thefts involving air conditioning units at churches in Jefferson County. The church located on the 67-hundred block of 61/67 was hit twice:
- 5800 block of U.S. Highway 61/67
- 6700 block of U.S. Highway 61/67
- 8200 block of Commercial Blvd.
- 5600 block of Old State Route 21
- 6700 block of Old State Route 21
- 1700 block of Springdale Blvd.