Metal thieves target five Northside churches

NORTHSIDE, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati police are currently investigating five breaking and enterings of churches in Northside that have occurred over the last four weeks. These offenses have occurred on Chase Avenue, Knowlton Street, Fergus Street and Blue Rock Street.

Copper and air conditioning units were targeted in all the offenses. "They're stealing metal, copper, air conditioning coils. Pretty much anything they can take to a scrap yard," said Lt. Jim Gramke. "A lot of times the air conditioning unit sits outside the building. The criminal just pulls up and they just jerk the metal out of the air conditioning unit."

Neighbors are shocked at the brazen criminals. "Its a shame when you think of what damage their doing and what these people have to go back and replenish," said Jeri Needleman who lives across the street from Chase Avenue Church of the Nazarene. St. Pius X, Northside Christian Church and Fresh Anointing Ministries are also among the churches hit.

"For the thousands of dollars in damage that they do, they'll get maybe $20 or $15 for the parts that they'll take to the scrap yard to get melted down," said Gramke. Cincinnati police officers are meeting with the property owners to discuss what is called "target hardening" or making the property more secure and harder to get into.

Regardless of whether its a church or not. "They don't care," said Gramke. "They want their dollar. They don't care if its a cemetery, if its a church, where they have to get it from."

District Five requests your assistance in preventing future offenses. Please do not hesitate to call if you observe suspicious activity which may be related to these offenses. If you have any information concerning these offenses, please contact the District Five Investigative Unit at (513) 569-8500.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.