Area churches have been the target for thieves recently and now a reward has been offered for information.
In the past few weeks, the thefts of a number of HVAC units in Bradley and now one in McMinn County have been reported.
Bradley County Sheriff’s Office officials have authorized a reward for up to $500 for information.
Detectives have recovered evidence left behind at some of the crime scenes.
That evidence could lead to the perpetrator(s), according to officials.
Union Grove Church of Christ, Thompson Springs Baptist Church, Cedar Springs Baptist Church, Covenant Baptist Church and at least one church inside the city have been targeted by thieves On Friday, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy reported the theft of an HVAC unit from a church in his county.
Collectively, the HVAC units have been valued well over $25,000, with Union Grove’s loss at $9,100 alone.
Three units were reported stolen from the church last week.
The most recent theft in Bradley County was from Covenant Baptist.
A church official reported the theft of their HVAC system on Tuesday.
McMinn’s sheriff said he learned of the theft of a unit in the Englewood area.
“Video security cameras are a resource to protecting property and monitoring churches,” Guy said.
He said something as inexpensive as a game camera (typically used by hunters) could help investigators solve the cases quicker.
The churches that have fallen victim to thieves who take the units for copper and aluminum components to sell for scrap, have been located in more rural areas.
Several residences and homes under construction have also been hit by copper thieves.
According to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, “Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division by calling 423-728-7336. Tips can be left anonymously. Anyone observing suspicious activity around churches during times that services are not being held should call 911.”