Freon Thieves Repeatedly Target Tulsa Church

Tuesday, June 29th 2010, 8:05 am
By: News On 6

By Jeromee Scot, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Police were called to a Tulsa church late Monday night after church members say they saw two men stealing Freon from their church's air conditioners.

And this isn't the first time this has happened at the Parkland Baptist Church in the 2100 block of North Harvard.

The church's pastor, Larry Adams, says someone has stolen the Freon three times in just the last week and a half.

"So far, they've cost us $2,400 in two weeks, just in Freon. And it makes it awful expensive to try and minister to people who are stealing from ya," said Pastor Larry Adams.

Adams, who works as a chaplain for the Tulsa Police Department, says the church is spending thousands of dollars on new air conditioning, only to have it taken away days later.

"They stole all of our units and we got them replaced. Then they came back two weeks later and stole all the copper. We got that replaced and they waited about two weeks and started stealing the Freon and they've got the Freon every week since, that's the last two and a half weeks," said Adams.

Tulsa Police say the thieves know exactly what they're doing and even come with their own equipment to make sure they get in and out quickly.

"They've got equipment with them that they can unscrew the service cap for the Freon line, drain the Freon off into their bottle and they're gone in just a few minutes," said Tulsa Police Captain Shawn King.

Police say the men then take the Freon and sell it.

Getting Freon replaced costs hundreds of dollars and if that's not bad enough, police say the church spent thousands more on new AC units after someone stole those too.

"They actually had the whole unit stolen earlier in the summertime and it cost them $30,000 to get all the air conditioners brought back up, so it's significant for a church this size," said Captain King.

Police say they've had several incidents of Freon theft throughout Tulsa this summer. They call it a crime of opportunity.

If you have any information that can help Tulsa Police find those stealing the Freon, you're urged to call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS.