Memphis/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 13, 2024
Memphis Man Charged with Theft and Vandalism After Stripping Copper from Local Church's AC UnitSource: Google Street View

A Memphis man has landed behind bars on allegations of stripping copper wire from a local church's air conditioning unit, causing a significant amount of damage. Eugene Long, aged 25, is facing charges of theft and vandalism after the Word of Life Church on Floyd Avenue fell victim to the costly theft on April 5.

The Memphis Police Department responded to the incident after being alerted to the theft and discovered the AC unit had been heavily damaged; Action News 5 reported that the church's deacon reported the intrusion, during which the church's property was not only stripped of copper wiring but was also left with damages that inflicted a hefty $20,000 financial toll. The department has since apprehended Long, who is accused of the theft, which involves property valued between $10,000 and $60,000, and the act of vandalism cost which is estimated in the same range, proving that a desperate search for quick cash can often lead individuals down a highway of self-destruction, putting them at odds with both the law and the sense of community trust.

Wedged amongst brick and mortar, the Word of Life Church stood as a sanctuary for its congregation. Still, the reprehensible act left its members grappling with a broken sense of security and an AC unit in shambles. According to WREG, this incident now lodges Long in the crosshairs of the legal system, reflecting a narrative that is far too common, where institutions committed to serving the community become prey to vandalism and theft.

This is not the first time establishments have borne the brunt of similar crimes, but this specific allegation echoes with disrespect for a house of worship, a place intended for peace and gathering, having now to confront the aftermath of a violation; Ground News conveyed this sentiment, shared by the church's congregation and leadership. Long's attempt to hawk the stolen copper, a move born from either desperation or brazen disregard for the law, now places him under the scrutinizing gaze of a system wrought to serve justice, all while the people of the Word of Life Church are left to reconcile with a breach of their sanctuary’s sacredness and the financial strain of unexpected repairs.