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Grinches steal heating and air units from church days before Christmas

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BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

Berkeley County deputies say grinches spoiled Christmas for members of a small church in Huger.

Last Friday night or early Saturday morning, thieves took two heating and air units from St. Phillip AME Church on Steed Creek Road.

Church trustee Rogis McDaniel and his wife discovered the units were gone Saturday morning.

"I looked and I had to get out of the car to make sure my eye was being truthful to me. I couldn't believe it," McDaniel said.

McDaniel called Berkeley County deputies and then the church pastor.

"I teared up because I know how hard this congregation works to keep everything running at this church," Reverend Hope Coleman said.

Investigators told church members they believe the thieves were after the copper that was inside the units, and most likely wanted to sell it to a scrap yard for cash.

Reverend Coleman says what hurts most it the timing of the crime.

"Just a few days before Christmas," she said.

"It was so surprising, hurt that someone would come and harm us, harm our church," added McDaniel.

Reverend Coleman says one of the units was installed just two months ago.

"As my congregation said, it was an insider, somebody who knew this church, knew that we just recently installed that unit," said Reverend Coleman.

After the theft, Reverend Coleman had a message for the crooks and she wanted everyone who comes down Steed Creek Road to see it. So she put it on the church sign.

The sign reads, God sees everything we do. We bless you.

The stolen units were donated to the church, and Reverend Coleman says the congregation will have to raise money to replace them.

They were worth around $6,000.

Investigators have not identified any suspects. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

©2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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