The congregation of a historic church is speechless after thieves not only stole copper, but ransacked their house of worship.
The pastor of Chadbourn Community Church says the thieves trashed their building while stealing the copper from the walls. The crooks damaged ceremonial items inside, including tossing the altar Bible onto the floor and tearing the altar cloth to shreds. Communion plates were damaged and offering plates stolen.
“Very upset, very withdrawn and in disbelief that somebody could be so evil and do this kind of stuff because our dear Lord up above doesn’t like ugly,” said church member Josephine Roybal.
Those ceremonial items now need to be replaced or repaired in addition to the work that will be required to restore the electrical wiring and repair the walls. Electrical outlets were ripped from the wall and rafters in the roof torn up to access the wiring.
They haven’t added up the total value of the damage yet, but expect it will be several thousand dollars. They are hopeful that insurance will cover most of the cost.
“It’s very upsetting, you feel like you’ve been defiled in a way. This church is important to us. We are a small congregation and not wealthy at all, so these things really affect us,” said Rev. John Beatty.
Members were thankful that their historic stained glass windows were not damaged during the burglary.
Beatty says what cuts the deepest is that he feels most of the damage was not necessary to steal the copper, but instead done intentionally.
“In my opinion it wasn’t just a robbery, it was also a statement against God and the church,” said Beatty.
The congregation says they have all suffered in their lives and have learned how to forgive others who do these type of hurtful things.
“The important issue is not just the legal thing, but the spiritual part. They are doing damage to their souls and their relationship with God; to trash and disrespect the house of God, that’s a serious matter,” said Beatty.
The historic church will be open for service on Sunday despite the damage.
The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, and is all that’s left of the Conejos Street neighborhood.
Chadbourn Community Church is located at 402 Conejos St., near America the Beautiful Park.
If you have any information about this theft, call Crime Stoppers at 642-STOP.