ST. LOUIS — For the sixth time within two months, thieves have struck a St. Louis church.
Pastor Titus Irving said they have been targeting his church's air conditioners and they've lost around $40,000 since September.
"It's just been heartbreaking," he said.
It was earlier this month that 5 On Your Side shared the challenges at the Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in the Walnut Park neighborhood.
This isn't the first time he's dealt with trouble. In 2016, someone set fire to the church sanctuary, which he has since rebuilt.
For a church dependent on community donations, Irving said they're spending their money replacing what's been stolen.
"We're not able to help the community in which we serve," he said.
What has frustrated him and members of the congregation is what they call a lack of police presence in the area.
"I'd just like to see increased police patrol," he said.
"They won't patrol the area so [the thieves] have no fear of being caught," said one member of the church during a Facebook Live from over the weekend.
Irving showed 5 On Your Side surveillance video of the latest theft. He said it took them about two hours to haul away the air conditioner unit.
"That's my concern. There's nobody patrolling the neighborhood in that time frame," said Alderwoman Pamela Boyd, who represents the area.
The church, which is on the 5500 block of Gilmore, is within one of St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden's rectangles, high-crime areas the police department focuses patrols.
A police spokesperson would only say a single police report has been filed at the location since September.
Irving said he has been trying to file one from over the weekend, but he keeps getting a busy signal when he calls. He said the other incidents were not as significant in terms of what was stolen so he did not file police reports.
Irving has caught the criminals on tape. He has surveillance cameras blanketing his church. However, he said it's clearly not stopping them. In fact, this weekend, the thieves took down one of them.
Alderwoman Boyd said she is working with Irving and others in the community about getting private security -- similar to what is done in the Central West End -- to protect the church and the rest of the Walnut Park neighborhood.
Anyone with information about any of these crimes, please call 314-725-TIPS.