Thieves target last-remaining air conditioner at east side church

United House of Prayer struck again on N. Keystone

INDIANAPOLIS - An east Indianapolis church was left with no air conditioners after thieves made off with their fifth and final cooling system over the weekend.

"It's going to be hot and miserable, but if that's the way we have to go and serve the Lord, we're willing to do that," said one church official who asked for anonymity.

Thieves decimated four of the units last week at the United House of Prayer on North Keystone Avenue near 30th Street. Then, as the church was limping along on its final air conditioner, crooks moved in and stole that one as well over the weekend.

"I wasn't really expecting for them to come back and finish it off. I was expecting them to leave it alone, but they didn't have that idea, so they came back and got it all," the church official told the Call 6 Investigators.

The fenced off area next to the church was left with its entire row of air conditioners torn apart, with only scattered metal shells remaining.

Church leaders said they propped open doors to cool down worshippers on Sunday, and they planned to keep doing that for daily services through the rest of the week.

"I guess they just wanted to be real doggish about coming in here and taking God's stuff," the church official said.

Air conditioners have been vanishing from businesses and churches throughout the city in recent months, as criminals cash in by selling the parts at metal scrap yards.

The church pegs its losses at more than $30,000 from this week's rip-offs, with some parishioners blaming thieves who live in the neighborhood surrounding the church.

A perimeter iron fence was taken apart and moved to allow the crooks access from a dark neighboring vacant lot.

Police reported no leads, but officers will be checking transactions that are logged at scrap yards citywide.

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