ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- A Rockingham County church congregation is praying deputies will find the person who stole one of its air conditioning units.
A member of Bethlehem Baptist Church on Settle Bridge Road went to mow the lawn Friday when he noticed the missing unit. The sheriff's office estimates it's worth $8,000.
"I just, the thought of someone stealing from a church, that's what got me more than anything else," member Patricia Foye said. "You never know what anyone might do this day and time, there's so much going on it's pitiful."
Foye has been a member for 60 years and is also the church's secretary. She said she she knows the money struggles that can befall a small church like hers that currently has just 15 members.
"We always could stand some funds and, you know, with the air conditioner, that's gonna strap us for some bit, too," Foye said.
The church's pastor said with the insurance deductible plus the cost of labor, they're looking at a total of around $1,500. The congregation plans to pray and fast during the week.
"We just have to keep on going as best we can... and look to the Lord for our blessings," Foye said. "I do believe he will take care of us."
The sheriff's office said churches are considered easy targets when it comes to theft because they aren't always occupied. The agency has seen strings of church theft in the past and are working to find the person responsible to ensure this doesn't become another.
If you have any information, call the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office at (336) 634-3232 or Rockingham County Crime Stoppers at (336) 349-9683.