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Copper Thieves Target Main Line Temple Once Again

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By Oren Liebermann

BERWYN, Pa. (CBS) - The Main Line temple was getting ready for the upcoming school year and the high holidays when members of Congregation Or Shalom noticed they had a problem, once again.

Copper thieves broke into a fenced area behind the synagogue and stole copper piping from five air conditioning units one day after the temple put up fencing around the units. Thieves cut the lock, then cut the pipes. They stole freon pipes that connect the units to the building.

“What we find out is usually, if water or moisture gets inside the unit and mixes with the freon, it turns to acid and it kills the fan motor,” said congregation president Fred Leibowitz.

On Friday night, thieves cut the lock to get to the copper. Now the temple has replaced those locks with titanium carbide locks that are supposed to be much stronger.

“It’s frustrating,” said Leibowitz. “Eventually, they’re going to get caught. It’s going to happen eventually.”

In late May, copper thieves hit this same temple, destroying fifteen AC units. They got $70 in copper and did $80,000 in damage. A few months earlier on Christmas, thieves stole thirteen copper downspouts from an historic church in nearby Wayne.

The last copper theft at the temple came a week after the school year ended. This one came a week before the new year begins.
It happened hours before Friday night services, leading some to believe the thieves knew the temple’s schedule.

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