By Frank Lewis
August 30, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
A recent string of air conditioning unit thefts in the area, mostly in Minford and South Webster, has brought out an appeal for help from the public.
“We’re just asking for the public’s help,” Scioto County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Todd Miller said. “If they see a vehicle that’s got a central air conditioning unit in the back of it, whether it be a pickup truck or a car with the trunk open, if they can get us a tag (number) without any risk of harm to themselves, and/or a description of the vehicle, to call 911 or call our dispatch center.”
A total of seven units were stolen between between Sunday and Wednesday this week.
According to reports, an air conditioning unit was stolen from Mt. Carmel Community Church at 1126 Mt. Carmel Rd., in Minford; three units from Sunshine Church of Christ on Ohio 335 in Minford, and two units from Bloom Freewill Baptist Church on Ohio 140 at South Webster. In addition, thieves cut the copper tubing and electrical wiring, and took an air conditioning from Jeep Fuel in South Webster.
“Out there moving around in the middle of the night, somebody might come up on one, and that’s kind of what we’re looking for,” Miller said.
Mike Livingston of Livingston & Company, said his company has been informed about the recent rash of air conditioning thefts and has been keeping an eye on the units that come into their business. He said there are several things thieves remove from those units to sell and make money.
“There is, of course, some copper tubing that’s worth a little bit,” Livingston said. “And they are aiming mostly for the radiator that is on the inside, and most of them have an aluminum bin and copper tubing radiator.”
Livingston said people selling air conditioning units is not unusual.
“We buy those things every day all day long from people who tear them apart. Even small window units that have small aluminum/copper radiators in them, and a handful of copper,” Livingston said. “And then we also have people replacing old central air units. For probably every hundred of those things that we buy, we may get one phone call from somebody who is missing one.”
While an alert like the one this week makes them watch closer, Livingston said it is hard to tell the difference in units, once they are out of the case and cut up into pieces.
“The only solution would be if the company that made those things would figure out a way to stamp a serial number on those little aluminum bins or something,” Livingston said. “Once you tear it out of the case they all look the same. What you end up with is a handful of copper tubing. You have two to five pounds of tubing, $10 worth. Those radiators - you might get, out of a big central air unit, a 20-pound radiator, so, total, when it’s done and over with, you might get between $25 and $40.”
Livingston said there is an alarm system available from some security companies that work with security systems to warn owners if someone is attempting to steal their air conditioning units.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.