SUMMERVILLE -- Thieves have made off thousands of dollars' worth of copper from Old Fort Baptist Church.

Someone got into the heating and air conditioning system overnight Dec. 17 and gutted six units for the copper piping. Metal pieces were left scattered around the system, and the parts were twisted and misshapen. It looked like a hurricane or a tornado had come through, said the Rev. Randy Sorrow, associate pastor.

The damage was estimated at $60,000 to $70,000. Initially, emergency heating strips had to be brought into a few rooms, but the broken units have been replaced, Sorrow said.

"We are taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "We're just thankful no one was hurt, and we feel sorry for (the suspects), being so desperate so near Christmas that they felt like they had to do that to anyone."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.