Increase in stolen A/C units in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Increase in stolen A/C units in Savannah

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department say they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of stolen A/C units since the start of the year.

There are a couple of things that can be done to help protect a unit, from installing cages around the unit to setting up surveillance cameras.

Police also encourage owners to write down your unit's serial number and regularly check on rental properties, especially if they're vacant .
Keeping A/C units in well-lit areas helps deter thieves as well.

Police say this is not a new issue, but there is an alarming new method thieves seem to use when swiping the expensive outdoor appliances.

Instead of just dismantling the unit and taking the copper wiring inside, investigators are seeing more and more cases of the whole A/C unit being stolen.

At first, small commercial A/C units were targeted because they could be used in both commercial and residential applications, possibly being re-installed at other homes. But several businesses have been targeted two or three times in some cases, prompting businesses like Climatech in Savannah, to install a welded cage to help protect property.

"It's happened to a lot of rental properties. Especially vacant houses, you know, that's what they look for more. But nobody is safe,” said Debra Griffin, Climatech.

According to Griffin, replacing the unit can cost upwards of $2,500, and that's just the cost of the A/C. That doesn't include repairing the damage often done by the thieves when it's taken.

"This is the cost of crime. This is what it does to people who are doing nothing wrong," said Julian Miller, a property owner who recently had to replace a brand-new A/C that he said cost him more than $5,000.

Griffin added they've even had to replace stolen A/C units for churches.

Police say they found eight A/C units inside a U-Haul truck in May. Five were confirmed stolen, and the other three were likely stolen but had no serial numbers.

Copyright 2015 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly