Thieves target AC units for copper

July 29, 2008 6:06:46 PM PDT
Bold thieves stealing air conditioners around Durham since June want one thing: the copper inside the units.

They're victimizing people like floral shop owner Jon Miller.

"We did get hit," he told Eyewitness News. "They took the air conditioning unit, along with, I think four others here in this complex."

Miller's shop, Floral Expressions, is on University Drive. Durham police say thieves have damaged or stolen AC units on several streets around the city, including East Piedmont, Bernice, Hearthside, Jacob, South Plum, Cecil, Cook and Grant.

"We think the folks are organized, because the complex down the road lost 14 air conditioners," said Miller.

His shop's cool today, thanks to another air conditioner. Insurance covered most of the cost of replacement for Miller's landlord. But that property owner told me replacing multiple units really cost him a lot, in deductibles and headaches. He's not alone. Police say the copper thieves cost their victims thousands, while making just a few hundred dollars on the stolen copper.

Miller said on the day his landlord replaced an older model AC, "Someone drove in the driveway, asked what they were gonna do with the air conditioner. He said I'm gonna get rid of it. He said there's a cost involved in moving these things. So he said "If you can move it, I'll give it to you free. Maybe a half hour later there was a truck and they took the air conditioner!"

Now Miller, other victims and the police hope someone will drop a dime on the people stealing cool comfort from Durham homes and businesses. Call Crimestoppers (683-1200) with your information.


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