Thieves Target Hazleton Church

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HAZLETON -- Police in Luzerne County are investigating a burglary at a church along Alter Street in Hazleton.

Officials said it happened sometime between Monday and Thursday morning at Ss. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church.

"It wasn't nice, especially in God's house. It shouldn't have ever happened, should have never happened." said Mary Gutosky of Weatherly.

Members of the church told Newswatch 16 that the thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of copper piping inside of the church.

A local plumber estimates upwards of $20,000 worth of repairs and damage.

Members of the century old church said they are upset that thieves would target a church.

"I hope they don't have any happiness. I know it's not Christian to say that, but I hope they dont have happiness with it because they made our family and church sad," said Gutosky.

Members of the church said that the thieves also broke into the rectory next door.

A plumber estimates that they got away with 600 to 700 feet of piping between the two buildings.

"All the time and the effort that people put in for these churches the good they do is being taken away by these clowns," said Bernard Jacobs.

Members of the church said that the thieves went into all of the rooms looking for things to take.

Jacobs said they stole items from baskets that were being used for a silent auction next week.

Anyone with information on the thefts are asked to call police in Hazleton.

A local plumbing company is now working around the clock to restore water and heat so services can be held on Sunday.