ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A local church has been forced to shut down for the day and turn away more than a hundred people after becoming the target of copper thieves yet again.
It happened Monday for the third time since December.
A generator, a few flashlights and some help from Mother Nature are the only things keeping some people going at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.
But just some.
For instance, one room that is dark and empty Monday is usually filled with dozens of people for Share Your Care, a nonprofit adult day service program for the elderly and for adults with disabilities.
Several other groups won't be using the space either because of copper thieves who left the northeast Albuquerque church without power.
“It is such a big, disruptive experience to have this done and for us three times is just too much,” said Pastor Frank Yates.
Chad Casey, owner of 3 Alarm Electric, fixed the problem when it happened last month.
“They cut it here and they disconnect it in the transformer, and they hook it up to their truck and yank it out,” Casey said.
He said the thieves stole about 120 feet of copper wire.
That means about $1,000 for the crooks and several thousand for the church to get it fixed.
“To hit a church, that's just disgusting,” Casey said.
To try to prevent it, the pastor is talking with PNM about better locks, looking into an alarm system and installing security cameras.
But he wants help from city and state leaders, too.
“So that in the next legislative session in January when we are in Santa Fe, the mayor's office along with many other people, including PNM, present a really good bill to the legislators to make this a felony,” Yates said.
Two bills in the legislature this past session would have done that but neither were approved.
The church is expecting power to be up and running by Tuesday.
A District Court judge has ordered city leaders respond to a petition filed by an animal activist on the city's trap-neuter-return approach of managing feral cats.
Police responded to dozens of weather-related crashes in only a matter of hours Sunday.
A small plane crashed at about 8 a.m. Sunday morning on the Canyon Rim Trail near N.M. 502 and the entrance of Los Alamos.
Sunday night in Albuquerque and around the world people gathered for candlelight vigils to remember the loss of their children.
Department of Agriculture officials are warning customers to not get burned when buying firewood.
Church groups, parents and teachers met Sunday at the 20th annual Albuquerque Interfaith Convention. State education reform was their central focus.