Pastor on patrol praises ADT flexibility

Monday, October 1, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.--Donny Sims, a youth pastor at the Foursquare Church, Hope Christian Center, located here, is accustomed to counseling young men, not apprehending them. However, in July, the 47-year-old found himself chasing and capturing a young thief after being notified that the church's alarm had been activated.
Sims recalls that he had helped update the security system in 2006 after he and other church officials discovered that two of the church's 15-ton external air-conditioning units had been stripped of copper. Sims had contacted his security company, ADT, to inquire if the units could be protected.
"The technician told me that not to his knowledge had they ever protected outside units, but said he could try a few things," said Sims. "He ended up putting door contacts under the lids of the units and wired them to the security system and labeled them with ADT stickers."
Six months later, on July 15, Sims received notification from ADT that the alarm had been activated. "When I received the call from ADT that the alarm had been tripped, I told them to call the police. The units were wired to the exterior doors of the church so I thought someone had broken into the building. It had been a few months since we had wired the A/C and it didn't occur to me at the time [that it could be the A/C units]. It was my understanding that someone was in the building."
Sims, who received the call at 10:40 p.m., lives in a small house near the church and arrived at the scene before the police. "I saw three young men running, so I chased them and I saw one run around the building and jump onto a wooden deck to try and hide from me. After I caught him, we walked to the front of the building and that's when he started scuffling with me. At that point I put him on the ground and we both fell down and fortunately, I fell on top of him!" recalled Sims. "We were laying on the ground for about three minutes until the police arrived and they ran over and 'cuffed him."
After the police arrived, Sims went to see what had been stolen from the church. "After [the boy] had been handcuffed, I still thought someone might be in the building. I noticed the door to the church hadn't been broken into, but one of the A/C units had been stripped and that's what had tripped the alarm. ADT said they had never seen an A/C unit hooked up to a security system, but we had worked it out with the installer and it worked."
ADT is equally happy that their unconventional installation worked. "We try to identify the needs of our customers and attempt to put a solution in place that works and meets their expectations, and that's what happened in this case," said Ann Lindstrom, spokesperson for ADT. "We're pleased and so is the customer."
Sims said the church is pressing charges against the 15-year-old boy, with a court date set in September, and he hopes other potential thieves will take the ADT stickers on the units seriously next time.