Just days after buying and closing on a new building for his church, Pastor Frederick Tappan found the place ransacked by thieves.
During the few, short days following, he says bandits stole air conditioners off the roof, heater coils and most recently ransacked the building for all the copper they could get their hands on. Tappan says the copper was stolen one day before they were supposed to install security cameras.
"We knew this was an area that was a tough area to be in, but this is where we wanted to be. We wanted to be where there was the greatest need. And that just reinforced that we area at the right place," says Tappan of Eureka Truevine Baptist Church.
A local Memphis metal recycling company says the buy insulated copper for $150 per pound; $265 per pound for stripped copper wiring. For the little bit of money the thieves will receive from the stolen copper, it set back Tappan and his church nearly $60,000.
"It's something we have to absorb, that we had not anticipated, most definitely. We're not a church that's bulging at the seams with finances," says Tappan, "We have not given up, we will not give up because we have a mission and we have a job and we will fulfill it."
If anything, Tappan says this test of faith strengthened his faith and his desire to help the area and even the burglars.
"‘Do you know The Lord?' That's what I would ask them," says Tappan, "Is there a hope in your life because there's undoubtedly something missing and their lives need to be ameliorated just like ours do."
Eureka Truevine Baptist Church does have a group that committed to donating all the wiring they need. A security camera company is checking out the building and said they are willing to donate the cameras.
If anyone is interested in helping repair the church, you can visit their new location at 3510 Millbranch Road in Memphis or call (901) 281-1415. Tappan says anything the community offers will be graciously appreciated.