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St Marks UCC of Reading holds fundraiser to help replace stolen copper

Published On: Dec 01 2013 10:01:40 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 02 2013 02:17:38 PM EST

Thief stole copper 5 times from Berks church


A church in Reading looks to move on after a copper thief stripped it five times this summer.

Saint Mark's United Church of Christ, 211 W. Greenwich St., suffered more than $70,000 in damage.

Police later arrested Jesse Datil, 40, of Reading for the thefts


"To steal anything from a church is just terrible," said Phil Wylezik, a church member.

On Sunday, nearly 600 people packed the church pews to help raise money for the repairs and to beef up security.

The Reinhold Singers, a mix of singers and dancers, put on a free show that raised several thousand dollars.

"It gives you goose bumps to just think about what happened today," Wylezik said.

One of those volunteers was Johnathan Reinhold, who was a member of the church for several years.

"This was the church I was born and raised in, I met my wife here. I was married here, our children were baptized here," Reinhold said.

The church has been losing members for years.

"The congregation had 1,600 members we're 122 years young. Today we have about 190 members," Wylezik said.

Phil Wylezik told 69 news that a woman's purse was stolen on the way to her car after the performance.