Despite declining scrap metal prices and tougher laws in many states, thieves are still targeting churches, vacant buildings, and construction sites in their quest for copper. Church air conditioning units are a frequent target.
Thieves have been taking other metal items as well: gutters, electrical wiring, and pipes. Catalytic converters, which contain platinum and other precious metals, are being taken from vehicles stored in church parking lots. Even rooftop heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are being destroyed so thieves can nab copper tubing inside.
One Alabama church had its air conditioning units stolen twice in 10 days. Each time, thieves got about $300 worth of copper, and the church had to pay more than $3,000 for replacements.
A church in Detroit, Michigan, spent more than $50,000 to replace heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units damaged by copper thieves.
Thieves are opportunists. They want easy access, so they can get what they want quickly and escape without notice. By hindering access and making detection more likely, you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Here are some ideas to consider.
If any ministry buildings are vacant or temporarily unoccupied, it’s important to protect them. Thieves are more likely to strike empty buildings, since they're less likely to get caught. You’ll want to protect not only the building’s air conditioner, but also any copper plumbing or valuables that may be inside.
Here are some suggestions:
Also, it’s important to let your insurance agent know if any buildings listed on your policy are vacant or unoccupied. If a loss occurs after a building has been unoccupied for more than 60 days, your policy may exclude the loss or reduce your payment by 15 percent.
This makes protecting your investment even more significant, since your church would bear a greater share of any loss.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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