"We're very discouraged:" Stolen copper at Marian Center for Nonprofits

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A non-profit in Milwaukee is dealing with a theft that could leave them underwater. Officials say thieves took something that will affect hundreds of people, and could permanently damage the Marian Center for Nonprofits.

The cost of copper can be measured in dollars, or measured in length. Unfortunately, sometimes it is measured in losses.

"They stole copper, down spouts, our gutter system," said Charlane O'Rourke-Hertig, with the Marian Center for Nonprofits.

Officials at the Marian Center for Nonprofits say thieves took 26-feet of downspouts.

"Copper has always been valuable as far as a building material. Copper is being stolen off buildings as long as I can remember," said Tony Cuda, from Langer Roofing & Sheet Metal.

But a manager for Langer Roofing says there is one thing that's changed.

"In the last five years I've seen more churches than normal. Churches used to be kind of, you know off limits to the bad guys," Cuda said.

The reason why, remains somewhat of a mystery.

"We're very discouraged," said O'Rourke-Hertig.

This isn't a first for the Marian Center.

"It's the third time in the ten years I've been here," said O'Rourke-Hertig.

Langer Roofing has been there for the last 29 years.

"I think this will be the 3rd time now we've replaced on various buildings the copper that was stolen," said Cuda.

As for what's next...

"Probably get some replacements on them pretty quick, and get this taken care of and then sort out the insurance -- and police and stuff after the fact," Cuda said.

As for the suspects...

"You also have to think that person that stole it, did they have more of a need than we do. So in the spirit of not providing for someone but to know that they were that desperate they felt they needed to steal, is a difficult thing to accept," said O'Rourke-Hertig.

An answer you might expect, in a place of forgiveness.

It's still not clear how the Marian Center will pay for the stolen downspouts.

Officials say the last time this happened, they received small restitution checks after the thief was caught.

Police do not have anyone in custody for this theft.