The neighborhood that once filled the pews of St. Augustine is now gone, and the old church sits alone, vulnerable.
I have been truly shocked by how large and bushy the volunteer trees have become. It is only late April and the undergrowth is huge.
Vines have now crept around the flamboyant Gothic elements of the front portal.
And the shear determination, almost insanity, of the men who are pillaging the church never ceases to amaze me, in a truly terrible way. There are plenty of places to steal copper in St. Louis, but for whatever reason, they seem hellbent on destroying this church, even at great personal risk of their own lives.
I’ve seen an old ladder propped up on the roof before, but it seems the thieves have managed to buy (or steal) a much newer ladder to get those last bit of copper flashing.
The ladder is sitting on wiring, presumably originally installed to prevent snow and ice from falling to the ground, and they’ve ripped up some pieces of wood or shingles.
On the other side, that rope, which I presume they use to rappel down to break off more copper, is still hanging from a precarious mounting.
What possesses their devotion to risk their lives in this way? It is a long, fatal distance to the ground.
Closer examination shows other points where the copper has been removed, guaranteeing this church will be a pile of rubble in less than a decade.
Again, there are so much easier places to steal copper–why the determination to steal it here?
Between the open windows, the holes in the roof and missing gutters, water must pour into this church during storms.
Much of the roof is damaged as the copper is ripped out.
The adjoining rectory is still sitting empty, its windows removed.