Thief Captured On Camera After Vandalizing Church Several Times

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A south St. Louis church relentlessly vandalized for its copper gutters now has an image of the thief.

Monday night, security cameras at St. Johns Lutheran Church on Morganford at Chippewa caught the thief if action on video tape.

"Oh I am hoping for a solution. Our church would really like to see this guy stopped," said Rev. Michael Tanney, pastor at St. Johns.

The thefts began this past summer, and the pastor estimates he has struck at least 15 times, each time robbing the building of a few feet more of copper guttering and flashing.

After a Fox 2 story in July, two local security companies donated cameras to the church to help stop the thefts.

Since then, church members have been taking turns staying at the church overnight waiting for the thief to appear on camera, and stay long enough for the police to respond.

"The church is very quiet and you can hear almost anyone walking on the roof and the guy who has been here both times when the thief has come called the police and they have come but just a little too late," Rev. Tanney said.

The video shows what appears to be a slim man wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask to hide his face, wearing a heavy winter coat.  Within the space of three minutes, the thief climbs the fence around the air conditioner, tears off a length of copper pipe and hops back over the fence and then leaves.

So far, the thief has managed to steal about half the copper on the church, including pieces that could be reached only by ladder.

Anyone with information is asked to calls St. Louis City Police.


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