(HOUSTON) — Whether it was negative karma, divine intervention or just awful luck, a couple of would-be thieves learned a painful lesson while trying to rob a Houston church.
Westway Baptist Church is without power after the unidentified men apparently attempted to steal the building’s main electric cable for its copper and set off an explosion.
“Our security alarms went off at 2 a.m. on Wednesday and that’s when our church member Homer Pate notified the Harris County Sheriff’s department of the robbery,” head deacon Michael Kirtley told ABC News.
A surveillance camera caught the incident on tape. The video shows a truck pulling up, followed by one man cutting the wires near the street, possibly attempting to disconnect the main power line.
The video also showed the other man cutting the wires at the breaker box, followed by the explosion. The bolt cutters exploded upon contact with the copper wire.
“The man just blew up into a fire ball,” Kirtley said. “I surely don’t know if he was electrocuted or even alive.”
The church is calling on all local medical facilities to help find the alleged thieves. “If they encounter someone with suspicious burn wounds, we urge them to inform the authorities,” he said.
The church canceled all of Wednesday night’s activities for lack of power. It also rented a generator in preparation for Sunday services.
“We can start the generator for eight hours only to minimize expenses,” Kirtley said. “Our [insurance] deductible is $5,000. This robbery is going cost the church a lot.”
The church suffered two robberies last year when two air conditioners were stolen.
Westway Baptist urged anyone with information about the attempted robbery to call the church at (281) 894-4542. They can also contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Evan McKirdy, Tim Hume and James Masters, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN