Nowhere is sacred when it comes to copper thieves
Thieves struck the St Cyprian’s Anglican Church three times in a week‚ stealing copper plating from the roof.
It seems even the most sacred places are not immune to the spiralling crime in Durban’s Umbilo suburb‚ which has seen a spike in house robberies‚ muggings and car theft.
On Wednesday last week‚ thieves hit the church‚ stealing copper from the roof sheeting.
They struck again just six days later‚ stealing more copper from the roof on Tuesday night – and returned for more the following day.
The theft has frustrated rector Father Dane Elsworth because it has left the church with hundreds of rands worth of damage.
The organ‚ worth R3m‚ was also damaged because of a leaking roof as a result of the copper theft.
“The damage runs into hundreds of rands, but nobody cares‚” Elsworth said.
“I did not even know that there was copper up there. Somebody was very clued up.”
He also blamed the police for not taking action when he opened a case after the first incident.
“Why don’t the police have time to deal with these things?
“This whole area is out of control – it’s hijackings‚ armed robberies‚ theft‚” Elsworth said.
The thieves also stole copper from the top of the lower drains on the walls of the church’s historic building‚ which was built in 1939.
The thieves have become so brazen that church members are forced to take their handbags with them when they go for communion for fear of them being stolen.
Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a group had broken into the church on Wednesday last week and damaged electrical wires‚ a switch box and lights.
Places of worship have become soft targets for criminals.
In October, R50‚000 was stolen during a church service in Phoenix‚ north of Durban‚ when men armed with AK47s and pistols stormed the church.
HEAVENS ABOVE: Father Dane Elsworth looks up at the damage caused to the St Cyprian’s Anglican Church