Watchwoman on the Wall

Views of St. Ignatius Church of Atntioch

ANTIOCH (CBS / AP) — Officials of an Antioch church are looking at thousands of dollars in repairs after the church was hit by thieves for the fourth time in two months.

The Contra Costa Times reports that thieves stole about 500 yards of copper wiring from a conduit outside St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church early Thursday.

A church official told the newspaper that in three previous incidents since mid-July, thieves have stolen about 1,000 yards of copper wiring, seven air conditioning units and five outdoor security cameras.

St. Ignatius was also hit by thieves last year when landscaping was stolen during a refurbishment project.

The theft also damaged the church’s copier and printer and closed the church’s administrative offices because of the loss of electricity.

St. Ignatius has been targeted by thieves several times over the past few years, including in 2008 when Rien’s one-of-a-kind chalice made of Norwegian silver and his parents’ wedding rings were stolen. Thieves also stole landscaping from a parking lot refurbishment last year.

St. Ignatius recruits parishioners to patrol the church parking lot during Sunday liturgies to keep an eye on cars and deter would-be burglars.

Since mid-July, thieves have stolen seven air conditioning units, five outdoor security cameras and about 1,000 yards of copper wiring, Rien said.

Thursday’s burglary was almost identical to an Aug. 27 theft that left the church dark hours before weekend services.

The church has asked the city for permission to put a fence with an electric gate around the perimeter of the 8-acre property facing Contra Loma Boulevard. The church is also looking at putting all of its power lines underground.

“In my almost 40 years being ordained, I never thought I’d have to deal with something like this,” Rien said.

Vallejo’s Union Baptist Church has been hit twice in three weeks by thieves removing its four security cameras, church leaders said this week.


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