EVANSVILLE - A south-side Evansville church falls victim to a costly theft for a second time in recent weeks, according to the pastor and confirmed by Evansville Police.
Police say Kenneth Hurtz was arrested after police say he tried to steal an air conditioning unit from the roof of the McFarland Baptist Church on Lincoln Avenue.
Police say they caught up with the suspect as he walked down the road near the church. That's when he allegedly lead police on a foot chase before being taken down and sent to jail.
In this season of giving and goodwill toward your fellow man, this man is accused of stealing an air conditioner: from a church.
"We don't have heat in the whole building now," explains pastor Kent Hite.
And this isn't the first time this has happened recently. Evansville Police spokesperson, Jason Cullum says, "[The church] had already been hit and had an air conditioner unit taken a few weeks ago and it was valued at about $13,000. They h ad just gotten it replaced on Tuesday."
Police say Hurtz used a ladder to get on the roof. Detectives say they found a wrench laying on the ground which fit the sockets found in the suspect's pockets when he was arrested.
Across the street from the church, Ramon Clayton owns Shark Barbershop. He's been in the neighborhood for years with no problems in the past. But recently, that began to change when his air condition was stolen.
"It hurt being up here and shocked by it since it don't happen."
The shop. Like the church, had insurance. But both still had to pay a hefty deductible and other costs.
Clayton says, "It's always hurtful, whether it's $50, $100, $200 or a thousand. Anything you have to pay out-of-pocket for something you didn't do or cause, it's going to get up under your skin."
And the pastor agrees. "It affects a lot of our programs. In fact, we may have to cut some down in order to keep the service going."
The barber shop and church are not alone. There has been a rash of similar thefts recently in this area and police are looking at Hurtz for possible leads.
"Air conditioning, scrap metal, things like that in the same area so, obviously, he's a potential suspect," according to Cullum.
As for the pastor, he says, "It's a big thing but it's not a gigantic thing. It's nothing that can not be solved with prayer."
Hurtz faces charges of theft and resisting arrest.