ST. LOUIS - Members of a north St. Louis church are convinced criminals are tracking their movements, stripping their sanctuary of metal during the day when no one's around. There have been two break-ins in less than a week. The most recent was Tuesday.
"That was just amazing to me. I couldn't believe it," said Damon Cannon, a church leader at Oaks of Righteousness Worship Center on North Grand Avenue in St. Louis.
What he can't believe is the thoroughness with which someone stripped the sanctuary, pipes, faucets, file cabinets, stoves.
"The kitchen sink, literally," he said.
It's clear these crooks were out to get any metal they could get their hands on, from floor vents to the wire out of a piano and even the legs off of fold up tables. It started last week, and happened again Wednesday.
"When you get through scraping it, probably for the damage that they did, they're probably gonna get maybe $100 worth of metal out of the deal," said Cannon.
In fact, the church found some of the stolen stuff at a nearby scrap yard.
"What's really sad is this is a church that really reaches out to the community and this is the community that's kind of repaying them with this kind of damage," said Cannon.
The church says the scrap yard has been cooperative and police say they're close to making an arrest.
Big picture, scrap burglaries are down in the city about three percent since St. Louis instituted regulations on selling scrap a few years ago.