By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Food ministry is hit by thieves
Copper stolen from walk-in cooler at Free Chapel
Placeholder Image

Volunteers with Free Chapel's food ministry discovered this week that copper was stolen from a walk-in cooler used to store food for those in need.

Gainesville Police responded to the North Campus of the megachurch on McEver Road to find the damaged cooler and also that a battery was stolen from a delivery vehicle, according to Kevin Holbrook, public information officer for the department.

Police estimated the value of the damage and stolen property is $1,550, but said they believe it is an insolated incident.

David Collins, a volunteer with the program, said they'll be able to get by for the next week by storing food in an air-conditioned building, especially given the cool temperatures forecast for the next few days.

"... There's no light directly on (the cooler), so I guess that's the reason they picked on it," Collins said.

Holbrook said police have few leads in the case.

Collins has been working to price a new compressor for the cooler and thinks it may cost $2,200. He hopes to get it fixed by next week.

The His Harvest House ministry serves 1,600 families a month, according to the church's website. Food is handed out Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Collins said.

"That's pretty bad when people steal from the church," he added. "... And probably it was somebody that had come and got food there, too, is what's sad about it."

It's not the first time police have suspected people of stealing from area churches.

Two teens were charged last April with stealing electronics from Cool Springs Baptist Church. The Church at Dahlonega lost $30,000 worth of equipment to burglary in August 2010. And in 2009 one man was convicted in a string of burglaries at three Hall County churches, along with the theft of a safe at Maranatha Christian Academy.

"Many times criminals don't think about the victim or the victimization behind the crime," Holbrook said. "They simply usually just don't care - whether it's a church or not."

Anyone with information on the theft at Free Chapel can contact the Gainesville Police Department's tip line at 770-533-5873.