Denver Church, charter school broken into multiple times this year



DENVER – A property in Denver’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood has been burgled and vandalized several times this year, and its executives are worried about the upcoming attack by thieves.

The property at 3200 Dahlia St. is home to the Union Baptist Church, the Power Learning Academy charter school and a baseball diamond.

Randy Sipple, who volunteers his time to help the church maintain the church, can count on the one hand how many times the property has been targeted by con artists in the past year.

“It’s been almost four times,” he said. “They do it constantly.… It hurts me. No respect.”

First of all, it started with a burglary inside the church. Sipple says a television and a security system were among the stolen items. Then they ravaged the vacant building, a former convent for nuns, across the parking lot.

“They gutted the building. They smashed all the windows. They took all the copper,” Sipple said.

The Power Learning Academy, which is adjacent to the church, has also been targeted on several occasions, principal Zach Macaluso said.

The charter school had some of its laptops and security cameras stolen. But even worse, the thieves took all 18 catalytic converters from their nine buses.

The situation devastated students and staff.

“Their thing is more like, ‘It’s not fair,’ you know?” It’s our thing. It’s for our learning. What are we supposed to do? “It’s more how they think about it,” Macaluso said.

The devastation also spread to the Marvin Freeman baseball field.

Members of the Southeast Denver Baseball and Softball League haven’t been able to play since the spring because they can’t water the grass.

Tom Nevin, a league volunteer, says thieves stole the sprinkler’s backflow preventer as well as the copper piping.

“We cannot irrigate the lawn without it. It is not allowed,” he said.

Nevin and Sipple replaced it and added a cage around it less than four weeks ago, but it was no match for the thieves who returned three days later and stole it again.

They stole an ATV, which was later recovered by Denver Police, and vandalized a lawn mower, among other things.

“It just gets worse and worse, and it’s just a degradation of our society when they hit a nonprofit school, church and youth baseball league. It’s pretty bad,” said Nevin.

The church and school administration reported every incident to Denver Police. A spokesperson confirms that no arrests have been made.

Each incident has cost the church, school and league hundreds of dollars in repairs or replacements. They hope that by spreading the word those responsible will be arrested.

“Their day is going to come. God is going to pay them back,” Sipple said. “It’s going to happen, trust me. [What] goes around comes back. “

If you have any information that could help detectives identify thieves, contact Denver Police.

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