DOVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -A crime at a New Jersey church has a congregation demanding answers.

Thieves have targeted the church more than once, even running off with a part of its entrance.

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The solid brass railings that have graced the steps to the hallowed hall of worship for more than a century is now gone, apparently the work of shameless thieves, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.

The history of the sanctity of First Memorial Presbyterian in Dover was violated last Friday, church elder Ed Dorsey believes it was for a quick hit of cash on the scrap metal market.

“Well brass today is very expensive on the market, the value of those two railings just in the brass along is probably in the neighborhood of three to five thousand dollars,” he said.

It’s not the first time scavengers have hit the church in recent weeks. Copper wire connecting lightning rods were slashed and taken as well.

Replacing the brass railings will cost the congregation money it would rather spend on its many community and social programs.

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The community is saddened but not completely surprised.

“You know it’s a sin to do something like that,” one woman said.

“This is an area where people are hard up for money which gives no excuse whatsoever, but I guess it’s not completely a shock,” another said.

There are no known witnesses so far, the church said.

The church is maintaining a spirit of forgiveness.

“As a Christian belonging to this church, my answer is we pray for them,” Dorsey said.

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Donations to help rebuild the railings are already being received, including from beyond the congregation itself.