HVAC unit stolen from Sassers Mill Assembly of God

Published 1:38 am Thursday, December 15, 2022

Worshippers at Sassers Mill Assembly of God arrived on Dec. 4 and discovered the church’s outdoor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit had been stolen.

“I looked like somehow the jerked [the HVAC unit] off the building,” said Leisa Hare, whose father, Bobby Powell, serves as pastor. “They just yanked it off. We didn’t have church that day. Everybody was so sick that somebody would stoop down so low as to steal from a church.”

The church, built around 1933, is isolated and sits outside Brantley off Alabama Highway 141, a few miles out from nearby homes.

Email newsletter signup

“The robbery happened sometime last week,” Hare said. “We don’t know exactly because we only have church on Sunday morning.”

Crenshaw County Sheriff’s deputies responded in response to the theft of property call.

“Upon arrival, the investigator spoke with the caller [who reported the theft] and was advised the A/C unit had been stolen,” said Chris Stewart, Sheriff’s office investigator. “No suspect description was given to the deputy. The case is still under investigation.”

The church has been robbed twice before. Robbers kicked in the door and took sound system equipment — a microphone, speakers, an extension cord — and a humidifier on Oct. 17, 2021. Then on Nov. 13, 2021, vandals entered the church by breaking a window, leaving behind evidence of drug use along with sexual paraphernalia, as described by church members.

“The devil was trying to shut us down, but he can’t do that,” Bobby said. “This is devastating, but we won’t quit. We just keep on going.”

The small church of about six regular members, hopes to replace the unit and install cameras to help prevent more thefts. Repairs are estimated at upwards of $8,000.

Bobby Powell and his wife Joyce have served the church and community since 2000. Bobby doesn’t accept payment for preaching and volunteers his time to preach to the small congregation.

“We don’t have extra funds to pay for cameras and repairs,” Bobby said. “A couple of years ago, we had to drop our insurance. We couldn’t afford it. We don’t have insurance on the church, so we just have to suffer the loss of whatever happens.”

Hare said the small congregation needs help to fund the repairs.

“If we had a camera and had captured a car tag or description of the vehicle, that would help law enforcement in their investigation,” Hare said. “We didn’t have one, so we’re trying to raise money for cameras and repairs.”

“We want God’s light to shine,” Joyce said. “We don’t want that light to go out.”

Community members seeking to help may direct donations to Brantley Bank and Trust, making checks out to Sassers Mill Assembly of God.