Man accused of ripping apart church's air conditioning unit

ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - Investigators arrested a 36-year-old man accused of ripping apart an Orangeburg church's air conditioning unit on Thursday.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office arrested Vernon Stevens after deputies say they found him cutting open an air condition unit at the Edisto Baptist Church.

Around 6:35 a.m. on Thursday, deputies responded to a security alarm call at the church.

According to the sheriff's office, as officers walked around the property checking for damages, they saw Stevens cutting an air conditioning unit apart.

Authorities say Stevens then ran into a wooded area after he saw a deputy. .

Investigators say they continued to patrol the area and were able to catch Stevens around 11 a.m. along Cordova Road near Carver School Road.

"This church had recently replaced their air conditioning unit after it was destroyed some time ago," Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said."These units are expensive for congregations to have to replace because vandals would rather tear up a $5,000 unit than to get a real job. We need churches to take precautions to have their units equipped with security alarms to aid us in catching these crooks while they are in the area."

The investigation is continuing.

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