Air conditioning thefts on the rise

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham Metro Police are warning residents to watch out for thieves looking to make some quick cash. The thieves are believed to be stealing entire air conditioning units in order to make money off the copper found inside.

"In less than 10 minutes a thief can steal your AC unit, without you even knowing it," said David Westberry, owner of Westberry Heating and Conditioning. "Apparently, they are coming either at night or when people are at work."

Westberry said it's a costly crime that is affecting an increasing number of residents.

"We have had a lot more calls recently for units that have been stolen. They pretty much come in and cut them and snatch them and take them. they end up in scrap yard for $20," Westberry told WTOC.

Most of the homes being targeted by thieves are vacant and it takes time before someone notices the AC unit was taken.

"It isn't until it doesn't work people realize it's not there," explained Westberry.

Since the start of the year nearly 100 AC units have been stolen. Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Capt. Charles Hall says AC units are being targeted because of the components within them.

"Most of them are made with copper and the price of scrap copper is going up, so the crime associated with scrap copper, i.e. stealing ac units, are also going up," Hall said.

It's a crime that is hard to prevent. And it's a crime that is hard to prevent.

"Some people bolt them to platforms or metal cages over the unit that is not prevent them from being stolen, but may be a detirant," said  Hall.

"We have bolted them down to concrete. It doesn't matter. They will strip them down and take all of the copper out of it," said Westberry.

If you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood call the SCMPD non-emergency line at 912.652.6500. And also if you see suspicious car, be sure to get the tag number.

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