NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (KMSP) - A church in New Brighton, Minnesota was trying to cut costs by adding solar panels. Now, it found itself in the hole after someone stole the panels right off the roof.
“I think that it had to be somebody who was extremely desperate,” said Associate Pastor Amy Wick Moore.
It’s a place of worship, but when thieves came upon United Church of Christ in September, they saw an opportunity.
“Saturday of Labor Day weekend is when they first came up on the roof,” said Wick Moore. “They cut the wires, they cut some of the wires of the flood lights that are our security lights and we didn’t realize it.”
The thieves returned the following Wednesday and took off with more than a dozen solar panels from the church’s roof.
“I have a feeling that they have done this before. We’re kind of surprised that they weren’t electrocuted,” said Wick Moore.
More than 20 panel optimizers were gone. Twenty-two of the 3 feet by 5 feet panels were disconnected. The damage is an estimated $30,000 and that’s not the only loss.
“It sets us back, every kilowatt that isn’t produced, it sets us back as far as our ability to pay our loan,” said Wick Moore.
Associate Pastor Amy Wick Moore believes that the thieves used the panels to sell as scrap metal.
“It’s too bad that somebody out there is that much in need that they feel like they have to steal off a roof of a church,” she said.
As the church works to restore and rebuild through loss, they stand on faith.
“We’ve kind of lifted it up in prayer for sure, and try to understand why somebody would do this,” she said.