CHICAGO (CBS) — The bishop of a South Side church says after-school tutoring and other activities for children may be in jeopardy after thieves stole parts to the building’s air conditioning system.
“Now we have no air conditioning, no money, no way to get this stuff fixed,” said Bishop Paul Hall of Christ Universal Church, 10140 S. Halsted.
At first, Hall just thought the air conditioning units needed servicing.
A technician said he found that seven out of nine units had been dismantled–stripped of their condenser coils so thieves could sell the copper as scrap.
In the meantime, Hall has tutoring programs to run.
“And now these kids are sitting in hot air,” Hall said. “I don’t have any idea, any clue.
“I’m trying to talk to my insurance company to see if they will help us. But I’m just devastated that somebody would steal from the house of God.”
The technician who’s inspecting the seven units said replacing them may cost as much $35,000.
Christine Betts’ five grandchildren rely on the center every day after school.
“They come from school and they come in and they are in the day care room, where they play and they do their homework after school. So, it be kind of hot in there now that we’ve lost our air conditioning,” said Betts.
Chicago Police say when the price of metal goes up, thieves will steal condenser coils to get at the copper inside.
Hall’s community center was targeted in June 2012, when thieves took copper wiring from some electrical boxes.
Bishop Hall says he’s trying to get the word out about the theft to scrap metal dealers in the area.