Stolen Air Conditioners a Hot Item

Thieves take the newer models, leaving the old.
Thieves take the newer models, leaving the old.

Over the weekend, we told you about several Southside residents who got a big surprise--their air conditioners weren't working because they were gone. It's a bizarre story and we wanted to know why someone would take them.

Thieves will steal anything, especially if they can make money on it, and when the temperature rises, apparently A/C units become very hot items.

More than a dozen air conditioners units have turned up missing all over Chatham County in the past month. Over the weekend, thieves stole five units from people who live at Windsor Crossing condominiums. They were taken right from under their noses.

"It was just gone," said victim Christie Carson.

These aren't small window units. We're talking full-sized units. The people who live there didn't realized what had happened until they tried to turn the A/C on.

Each of these units weighs about 200 pounds. To steal one, you'd probably need two men and pickup truck. All the thieves would have to do was cut the connector, then they back up their truck, load the unit and take off.

"I heard what I thought was a moving truck," said Carson. "I thought my neighbor was moving."

The thieves took the newer ones and left the old ones. New air conditioners don't come cheap. A Climatec installed can cost $1,800.

Carson is lucky; her insurance is paying for hers.

So what do thieves do with the stolen air conditioners? Sell them, mostly to contractors, for $20 to $200. And in some cases, police say the contractors will then pass them off to homeowners as new, selling them for $2,000.

To protect your air conditioner, secure it the well as you can. Bolt it to a concrete slab or anchor it to the ground.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com