Copper is such a hot commodity that thieves are going after the metal anywhere they can find it: an electrical power station in Wichita, Kan., or half a dozen middle-class homes in Morris Township, N.J. Even on a Utah highway construction site, crooks managed to abscond with six miles of copper wire. Those are just a handful of recent targets across the U.S. in the $1 billion business of copper theft” (Koba, 2013).
"There's no question the theft has gotten much, much worse," said Mike Adelizzi, president of the American Supply Association, a nonprofit group representing distributors and suppliers in the plumbing, heating, cooling and industrial pipe industries.
As indicated, copper theft has become a very serious problem around the country. The effects are local as well national.
Monday, February 24, 2014 the Conant Gardens Church of Christ located at 18480 Conant was attacked by copper thieving cowards sometime during the night or early morning hours.
It has been said that a picture paints a thousand words, and the video taken by a church member days after the theft gives one a very graphic image. The following clip is from the courtesy of WXYX.
The members were not able to hold service on Sunday and they have no idea when the structure will be safe to reenter.
The church has been on Conant and Nevada for over 55 years. The church has a rich history and the current leadership vowed to stay in the same location even though the neighborhood has changed drastically over the past decades.
Break-ins have not been deterrents, but total destruction produces very different outcomes.
The copper cowards mutilated every fixture in the church where they thought copper might be stolen. As a result, water pipes in the church were unleashed to send gallons of water reaching six feet upwards causing major damage to the interior. Water was gushing out of the front door and seeping through the bricks on the side of building making for a very icy sidewalk.
Conant Garden Church of Christ has always been open for the community and keeps an open door policy for those in need. No one has been turned away and no one has been rejected.
The first minister of the Conant Gardens Church of Christ was feverishly working to complete the renovation of the building from a storefront to an edifice that could hold hundreds of worshippers. He was on a ladder and fell several feet to the concrete below. He sustained irreparable brain damage and was not able to complete his mission.
Hubert G. Locke took over as minister and he was also the assistant police chief when Detroit was hit with the 1967 riots.
Clarence S. Carter was a member of the Conant Gardens Church of Christ also. Carter was awarded a Detroit Chevrolet dealership to become GM’s first black auto dealer in Michigan His dealership was on Livernois. His wife is still a member at Conant.
Kenneth V. Cockrel Sr.was often spotted on Sundays as he took his same seat on the fifth pew from the front of the auditorium. Nathan Conyers, brother of Congressman John Conyers was a frequent visitor of Conant too.
Conant’s longest serving minister, John Mayberry Sr., was also the English Department Head at Cody High School. He passed away several years ago but under his leadership the church created several outreach endeavors and sponsored many Bible teaching classes.
Conant’s members have gone door to door in the neighborhood taking the Word to the community. Moreover, Conant has no celebrity status members. Each and every member was and is just as dedicated and important as the collective body of members.
Mental and physical damage
Destroyed in the water damage was a pantry full of food for those in need. Clothing for those in need. Sunday School material and electronic devices that cost thousands of dollars were ruined.
Nevertheless, the most precious thing that the copper cowards took away was the place where people come together to worship God. They desecrated the House of the Lord. The structure can be repaired, but the significance of the gathering place; the reason for the specific locale, and the sanctity of the dwelling has been momentarily disrupted.
Assuredly, the impact of a churches incomprehensible destruction will be charged to those who carried out the evil deeds.
Destruction of property translates into destruction of memorabilia, tears of sorrow, years of toil gone unrequited, and financial capital that is too hard to come by.
The pictures of deceased members, Sunday school supplies, specially engraved Bibles, documents of the churches history have been destroyed. Because of this, someone stated that, “This community needs a church in its midst now more than ever”.
Koba, Mark (30 Jul 2013). Copper theft 'like an epidemic' sweeping US. CNBC.