A rash of air conditioner thefts are occurring in the region and authorities are urging homeowners to beware.
According to Inv. Michael Bryant of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, he is investigating seven thefts of air conditioning units - not the window size - actual self contained units. Inv. Bryant says thieves are cutting the hoses and lines running from the units to the house.
The increase in thefts of this nature is believed to be due to the rising price of copper and aluminum.
“It’s about $1 pound. and steadily climbing,” says Bryant, adding, “It’s estimated to go up to 20 cents over the weekend. The average unit brings in $40 to $50.”
Once thieves steal a unit, they typically gut it, stripping the copper and aluminum out and ditching the shell of the unit. When the metal makes it to the scrapyard without the shell, investigators have no way of identifying it. That’s why Inv. Bryant is urging homeowners to take precautions.
“We’re asking residents to take a picture of their air conditioning unit and write down the model and serial number,” he says. “I know it’s a bizarre request, but for the time being, with the price of this stuff as high as it is, take a picture of it and right down identifying numbers. It may help us solve a case.”
Bryant reports he has eight recovered air conditioner shells and only seven local cases, leading him to believe the eighth is from another county.
“This is something the panhandle is experiencing,” he remarks. “It’s not just isolated to Calhoun County, it’s Gulf, Bay, all over.”
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office currently has suspects. If you have any information, call the CCSO at 674-5049.