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Parishioners relieved by arrest of Jesse Datil, suspect in church copper thefts

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 10 2013 04:33:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 10 2013 06:16:24 PM CDT

Pieces are all that remain of several air conditioning units outside of Saint Mark's United Church of Christ in Reading.

READING, Pa. -

Pieces are all that remain of several air conditioning units outside of Saint Mark's United Church of Christ in Reading.

"Just down. You could not expect somebody to come over and raid a church the way they did," said Phil Wylezik, Saint Mark's Consistorial president.

Investigators began to check scrap yards for the stolen copper and later arrested Jesse Datil, 40, of Reading for the thefts.

"It is just unbelievable that somebody could come into a church and destroy that kind of equipment and walk away for a few dollars. It is just mind boggling," said Wylezik.

Until they can replace their air conditioning units, Saint Mark's will have to use fans to keep the church cool for services."

"I am so glad that the officers worked so hard to catch this person. I just hope that this minimizes some of the copper theft in the city of Reading," said Wylezik.

It is going to cost the church roughly $70,000 to replace the units and fix the damage to its fence. Members hope to raise the amount that insurance does not cover to keep Saint Mark's open for the community of Reading.