(WXYZ) - It's a Catholic church that's been a symbol of faith and longevity in a struggling city for decades.
Now, St. Matthew Church on the corner of Harper and Whittier in Detroit is being targeting by thieves who are stripping the age-old church of everything from the downspouts to the metal vents.
Father Duane Novelly had to call a repairman out again today after a metal thief began ripping down the copper downspouts on the rectory. The noise startled him around 6:30 a.m.
"Then I heard another noise and I looked out my window and he came around to the back side of the rectory and was pulling down the downspout... and so I yelled at him and he took off running and jumped this wooden fence... never thought he'd be able to get over," said Father Novelly.
A thief even hit on Sunday as everyone was preparing for mass.
The thief was able to haul the church's floor buffer out a side door. T he suspect then dropped the buffer and ran as a few security guards were responding, but Father Novelly has words for the relentless thief or thieves.
"Please stop...you are affecting lives...I'm sure the thieves, the scrappers, are only getting pennies on the dollar on the metal and it costs us thousands to repair all of this metal," said Father Novelly.
If you have any information on those responsible, call the Detroit Police Department.