Stolen heat pumps leave Arnold, Md. church in the cold - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Stolen heat pumps leave Arnold, Md. church in the cold

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Some cold hearted thieves have plunged an Arnold, Md. church into the deep freeze.

Police say they stole four heat pumps from the back of the Gloria Dei! Lutheran Church and it will cost thousands to replace them.

Pastor Tom Williamsen says rather than be mad or sad about the theft, he wants the community to take a different approach. The marquee outside the church says it all. It reads, "Pray for those who stole our heat pumps."

Replacing them won't be cheap.

"The estimate we got so far is $80,000," says Church Council President Mark Yerkes. "We're still waiting to see what the insurance company will reimburse us, but it's a financial hit either way."

The temperature in the church classroom used by community groups like Girl Scout Troop 1808 is now 60 degrees. Other parts of the church are even colder. The temperature in the Fellowship Hall is 55 degrees. People are still using it, but they are wearing their coats when they do.

"For me, the sad part for me is all the places the money could have gone is now going to bricks and mortar type stuff," Pastor Williamsen says.

He says the church's outlay will be probably be about $15,000, money that could have bought more desks for children at their sister church in El Salvador or paid the tuition of some of the kids there.

They also have sister churches in Madagascar and Slovakia which they won't be able to help as much either now.

The church has a lot to be upset about. Pastor Williamsen is hoping the marquee encourages parishioners to do something else -- pray.

"What I wanted to give the community was a reminder that when people do us wrong, we pray for them," he says.

Investigators say there were several other thefts like this in the spring and summer.

When the new heat pumps are installed, the church will secure them to a concrete slab, and build a wire fence around them.


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