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$80k lottery ticket helps Ga. church deal with copper theft

August 30, 2011 |  6:50 am

Copper_theft
With things tough all over and copper prices at near-historic highs, copper theft has become a national epidemic. Copper wiring has been disappearing from under America's city streets. Catalytic converters are being chopped from cars. Thieves are climbing power poles and tearing up homes to get to precious wiring.

The U.S. Department of Energy disclosed recently that 30,000 pounds of the stuff were boosted from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

A lower-profile victim was the Cathedral of Prayer Church of God in Christ in Columbus, Ga. Three weeks ago, an unidentified person or persons heedless of the Eighth Commandment stripped the copper in the church's air-conditioning system, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

It was an uncool move in more ways than one: You don't want to be without A/C in late August in Columbus, Ga.

A few days ago, the collection plate was passed around and another unidentified person dropped a solution: a winning ticket from the Georgia Lottery. The church cashed it at the lottery office and took away $80,000, the paper reported.

The church will put the money toward repairing the system.

Hosannah. Very cool.

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-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta

Photo: Copper is hot nationwide, some of it in more ways than one. In downtown Los Angeles, this electrical transformer for an elevator motor made for a tempting target. Thieves broke into the Garfield Building and attempted to remove the copper before fleeing. Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times

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