Air conditioning units increasingly popular targets for thieves - - The News for South Mississippi

Air conditioning units increasingly popular targets for thieves


Police believe the Ark-La-Tex is about to see another spike in metal thefts in the coming months, and an interrupted burglary Friday morning was likely one of those cases.

Police say they stopped Brandon Price,  Leavern Johnson  and Eric Williams in their tracks as they attempted to steal from James Pharr Machinery.

"We've recovered 4 or 5 thousand pounds of iron which are actually bulldozer engines, transmissions or other parts," says SPD Detective Roger Courtney. Police say these kinds of thefts have been happening at an alarming rate in the past year. "Sometimes we were getting calls of 2 or 3 businesses in one night," Courtney says.

The most common kind of metal theft is copper, usually from air conditioners. "Typical air conditioning coil can weigh anywhere from 30 to 50 to 60 pounds, and when you have 3 or 4 of those units on top of your building then it makes it a little bit more profitable for the person who doesn't like to work to steal your property and take 100 pounds say of copper to a scrap yard and make $300," according to Courtney.

Courtney also says everyone is potential target. In the Ark-La-Tex we've seen this happen at churches, schools, phone towers, homes and businesses, and the losses add up quickly. "A typical business of its own if it suffers this kind of crime it can cost them anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000." 

Detective Courtney couldn't go into details about what they are doing to cut down on this type of crime. He did say they are keeping close watch on scrap-yards and night patrols are keeping an eye out for these types of crimes.

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