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Only on FOX - Copper thieves strike Sunnyside homes

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Sunnyside is one of Houston's oldest African American communities. It began back in 1912. Age has taken a toll on the area, but there is a renewal underway.

Revitalization is in full effect in the community that was once populated by abandoned houses and overgrown lots.

Sterling Jones, a native of Los Angeles, moved to the area in 2009.

"I could've moved anywhere, but I chose to take a chance and in life, you take a risk," says Jones.

That's exactly what Jones did in his newly-built home in Sunnyside. But there have been some regrets. In his home that looks like any suburban neighborhood, there has been a break-in.

"It could be frustrating if you constantly have something going on like. You're worried about someone coming and taking what you have,"says Jones.

If you think Jones has an issue, just talk with Rev. James Nash of St. Paul Baptist Church. He's in the process of building ten new homes in Sunnyside, and his first three houses have all been broken into already leaving $50,000 in damage.

"These are not ordinary thieves because they go into the walls they know exactly how the cooper is running in the walls and they concentrate on that," says Nash. He built the homes through his church as part of a revitalization plan. Just last week, another break-in and that's why he posted signs on the homes warning the thieves that they're being watched.

But Nash says that's part of the problem in an area where new homes are not only being burglarized but a string of churches as well. He wants neighbors to stand up and report when they see suspicious activity.

"What do you do when the neighbors don't look. Somebody has to see something or hear some noise. Don't come outside, picking up a newspaper or whatever," says Nash. He adds that he's not pointing the finger at the police department even though Houston PD has agreed to beef up patrols because of the church burglaries.

Nash wants community involvement to keep the thieves out so that Sunnyside may continue to attract young professionals back to the area like Sterling Jones.

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