Copper thieves have made off with sections of drainage pipes from St. Lawrence's Church on Summer Street in New Bedford.

Staff members speculate the thieves stole the copper from the rear of the church Wednesday night, taking a pipe that reaches from the roof of the church all the way to the ground.

Reverend Marek Chmurski of St. Lawrence's says all he asks of the community is respect, as the structure is the fifth oldest church in New England.

Reverend Chmurski notes this is not the first time somebody has stolen from or defaced the church. Earlier this summer, thieves made off with several sections of wrought-iron fencing from the church grounds, and earlier this week a rock was thrown through one of the church windows.

Police are investigating the copper theft.