Albany church air conditioners vandalized

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – The pastor of a Dougherty County church is praying for the arrest of vandals who caused thousands of dollars in damage to the church’s air conditioning units.

Mercedes Baptist Church pastor Chris Hall said he learned his lesson.

“They did, but it cost us a huge amount of damage,” Hall said.

Hall said an expert told him that the thieves took $400 to $500 worth of copper, but their church suffered much more damage.

The damage includes 5 of the total 6 AC units behind the church, 3 of which were looted, the other two with enough damage to require replacement. The 6th to be replaced is from the Family Center in the same lot.

Hall said he had heard of similar thefts, but on such a rural and remote route he thought there was no way it could happen to him. That’s why the Mercedes Baptist Church didn’t have cameras.

Hall said preliminary estimates put the damage at $44,000.

6 units need to be replaced, with damage estimated at $44,000.(WALB)

Now Hall is spending even more money to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Naturally, with something like this, there will be an added cost to get the security systems and build fencing around the air conditioning units,” Hall said.

While they wait for new units, which can take some time due to supply chain issues, they are providing service at their nearby family center.

Mercedes Baptist Church member Roger Johnson said no matter where they go, the church is like family to him.

“Everyone in the church is asking how my hand is. It’s just a small operation, but they’re worried, but they’re praying for me,” Johnson said.

Now he’s praying for whoever did it.

“They need our prayers. The devil entered into them. The fact that why did they do it? It is not for us to judge them. God will take care of that,” Johnson said.

It’s not just Johnson. This week the whole church is praying.

The religious service is moved to an adjacent building
The religious service is moved to an adjacent building(WALB)

“We prayed for those who did this and we really pray for God to touch their hearts and turn them away from doing things like this,” Hall said.

Hall said his arms were open.

“We are taught to forgive, so we forgive those who have done this and pray for them. And if they would like to come join us in church and repent for the church, we would like to have that too,” Hall said.

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Jerry B. Hatch