SPARTANBURG — Police say thieves used piled-up hymn books to help them steal copper wire from a Spartanburg church.

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Master Deputy Tony Ivey says the Unity of Christ Church building was struck sometime before Tuesday. That’s when a caretaker noticed an open side door.

Inside, the church was covered with debris from wire that had been pulled out of the walls and ceiling.

Deputies say the thieves stacked hymnals in a pew and climbed up on the pile to get into the attic, where they took more copper wire.

Ivey says the damage to the building is extensive.

The church has been without a congregation for several years. Vacant buildings are at a particularly high risk of being targeted by copper thieves.