Police: Thieves steal HVAC units from Va. church

WASHINGTON – A church in Virginia faces a potentially staggering financial loss after criminals targeted the house of worship.

Prince William County police say a group of suspects stole six heating ventilation/air conditioning units from the First Church of the Nazarene in Woodbridge, Va. The theft reportedly occurred the night of Oct. 29, and the estimated loss is $48,000.

Criminals steal the units, break them down and sell individual parts, according to police.

“If the insurance doesn’t cover it, we’re in a bad situation,” Pastor Athan Burch tells Fox 5. “Although we take care of our business week in and week out, we really don’t have that kind of money.”

Police say two HVAC systems estimated to be worth about $14,000 also were stolen from a building in Triangle, Va., reportedly between 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and 10 a.m. Oct. 31.

Surveillance video from the church incident showed a dark-colored minivan on the property, and police say a tip led them to a home in Woodbridge where they found the van and disassembled parts from several HVAC units.

After an investigation, police arrested the following four people:

  • Christopher Michael Bowers, 29, of 3605 Freemont Place in Woodbridge
    Charged with two counts of grand larceny and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses
  • Dylan James Moran, 21, of 3605 Freemont Place in Woodbridge
    Charged with two counts of grand larceny and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses
  • Jay Bradley Fitzgerald, 33, of 3605 Freemont Place in Woodbridge
    Charged with two counts of grand larceny and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses
  • Andrea Lauren McMichael, 28, of 3605 Freemont Place in Woodbridge
    Charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses

The suspects have a court date scheduled for Dec. 12.

Fox 5 reports investigators are looking into whether other recent cases are connected. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS.

Follow @NickWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.