Thieves Rip Heat Pumps from Walls of Gloria Dei Church

The church administrator estimated the damage at $80,000.

While driving along College Parkway this week, you may have noticed the marquee for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Arnold: "Pray for those who stole our heat pumps."

Four massive heat pumps were ripped from the church's rear exterior, leaving more than 10 classrooms and the fellowship hall bereft of warm air during the coldest month of the year.

"I just couldn't believe it," said Heather McHugh, the parish administrator.

McHugh described the pumps as weighing several hundred pounds each, and pointed out tire tracks near where the pumps were missing.

"It must have taken a number of guys and a big trailer or something," she said. "They came in and cut them off from the wall to the church, ripped out the wires and just left."

McHugh estimated the cost at $80,000 to replace the heat pumps and outfit the church with the necessary equipment.

Over the years, Gloria Dei has become a central meeting point for several groups in the Broadneck area. But until the heating units are replaced, students in a home school taught daily out of the church's rooms and more than two dozen community groups, including boy and girl scouts, will have to endure the cold.

"They'll just put on coats. They don't have anywhere else to meet," she said.

Emergency heat is running in the building now, which is able to raise the temperature in some rooms up to 65, and the fellowship hall to 55.

The church's council met to determine how to react, and the message on its sign was among the first things they decided on. McHugh said church officials wanted to get the word out that other churches and buildings should take precautions against thieves.

Helen February 10, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Take proper precautions with the fire protection sprinkler system so leaks dont happen due to the cold and then temps going up and down too at this time of year.
Gburgatheist February 11, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Guess god was too busy ignoring the truly needy of the world to actually care about this.
Connie Fuller February 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM
A friend lives in Riviera Beach and she came home from work about 2weeks ago to find the same thing happened at her home! She and her two kids have had no heat except space heaters which is going to make her BGE bill unbearable! What is this world coming to when people will put an entire family at risk for a couple dollars in scrap metal?
Helen February 12, 2013 at 12:42 AM
As tragic as these thefts are businesses and homeowners must have insurance and if renters are smart they will too. Its so very worth it if you ever need it.
Mike G April 14, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Thieves stole the the transformers from Old Mill Park a few years ago when raw copper was over $4.00/lb...they did it 3 times in one summer/ The park was without lights that year. Stopping this is like stopping illegal immigration. We can complain about it all we want, but it will never get fixed. GOD help us all eh?


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