DETROIT -

Heartless thieves have slowed plans to help homeless veterans in Detroit.

A local church has an ambitious plan to open a shelter on the city's west side, but thieves have been pillaging the buildings on the church property for months.

"Quite a massive damage that they've done to this property," said Pastor Cass Hudson. "They just broke in the walls and tried to find more copper wiring, copper pipe which there are none. I mean they've stolen all of it."

Pastor Hudson says the grounds of the former Catholic church at the intersection of Orangelawn and Mendota were donated to the Agape 7th Day Ministry.

He planed to reopen the church and open the shelter for veterans.

"The school building is going to be for adult education. We're going to have a seven day, one hot meal per day for the homeless," said Hudson.

Destructive Damage:

Why would anyone steal from church? The pastor says its all about copper, which they can sell on the black market.

The thieves have found a treasure trove of copper in the old buildings. They've stolen copper gutters, which has caused water to leak inside the church.

They've ripped out copper pipes, and taken every copper wire they could get their hands on.

Copper thieves strip Detroit church property

"What they took prevents DTE hooking up the electrical to the building," Hudson said.

The pastor said the church needs at least $30,000 worth of materials to get back on track to open he shelter, on schedule, in June. Pastor Hudson's message to the thieves, "I ask them that they realize this is God's house, and it's God's business!"

Pastor Hudson says he has a plumber and an electrician willing to do the labor for free but paying for those materials from church funds will be tough.

If you'd like to help Pastor Hudson and the Agape 7th Day Ministry please call 313-491-7823 or email Pastor Hudson at hudsonscan@yahoo.com