Manchester police are searching for the person who stole copper from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Park Street around Christmas.
According to police, the crook climbed on up on the church roof multiple times, pilfering from copper flashing and downspouts.
“Apparently it was a crime of opportunity,” explained Manchester police Capt. Christopher Davis. “He saw there was value in the materials.”
According to Rev. Paul Briggs, the absence of such items allowed a wave or water to pour from the ceiling during one of the church services. Although the service continued, members of the congregation had to grab buckets and mops to clean the mess.
“It was like someone turned a hose on,” said Briggs.
In the week that followed, Manchester police were able to track down some of the copper at an East Hartford scrap metal dealer. Through receipts, they learned the thief made off with metal valued at $1,200.
“It is a very big headache and a costly one,” said Davis. “These are all custom made downspouts and flashing; this isn’t something you can just go to Home Depot and buy off the rack.”
This coming Sunday, St. Mary’s will be asking its congregation to consider an extra contribution to help defray the cost of the insurance deductible. While they now have to consider things like extra security, it seems Briggs is also concerned about the well being of person responsible.
“I am really sorry that they felt they needed to do that and as I’ve said to folks we are here for them. I wish we could connect in some way,” said Briggs.
Police do believe they have an idea of who they are looking for. Police said they have identified a local man as a person of interest and hope to make an arrest soon.
“I’m certainly willing to offer forgiveness, if they have something they need to be forgiven,” said Briggs.