Scrap metal thieves — including one who fled on a bicycle — have ripped the copper downspouts off more Omaha churches.
At least six churches have had downspouts stolen this spring, including three in June.
In the recent rash of thefts, the pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Church near Ninth and William Streets spotted the thief.
The Rev. James Clifton heard a noise from inside the church about noon June 6, according to a police report.
When he went outside, he saw that a man had taken a downspout and placed it in a bright yellow trailer hooked to a bicycle. The man fled on the bike as the priest gave chase.
Copper downspouts also were stolen from First Presbyterian Church at 34th and Farnam Streets and St. Mary Catholic Church near 36th and Q Streets.
At First Presbyterian, the property manager told police that thieves took two downspouts and damaged a third by trying to remove it.
Two 12-foot downspouts and one 10-foot copper pipe were reported stolen from St. Mary.
Scrap copper can sell for $3 to $4 per pound, depending on the day's market price.
Anyone with information on the recent copper thefts can submit anonymous tips to Omaha Crime Stoppers by phone at 402-444-7867; www.omahacrimestoppers.net; via a text message that begins with the acronym OPD to 274637; or download a Crime Stoppers application on a smartphone by searching “TipSubmit.”
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