VIENNA (AFP) — Thieves broke into a church in a small town in central Austria and stole scores of tin organ pipes, probably for their value as scrap metal, its pastor reported Monday.

They dismantled and removed 122 tin pipes from the instrument, leaving only those in wood and tinplate, according to Manfred Mitteregger from the church in Groebming.

“We noticed at once that the organ did not sound as good as usual but at first we thought it was a technical breakdown,” he told the Austrian news agency APA.

The church estimates that the theft will cost it 20,000 euros (27,200 dollars), though investigators say the sale of the stolen pipes will only bring the criminals 700 euros (950 dollars).

Thefts of metal, in particular electrical copper wire cables, have increased in recent months in Austria as metal prices have soared.

October 13th, 2008

Posted In: Church theft