Wake teen hospitalized after huffing Freon

18-year-old Lanius Hume

March 22, 2011 8:12:48 PM PDT
Apex police arrested an 18-year-old Tuesday in connection with several Freon thefts that occurred over the weekend.

Lanious Hume of Apex is charged with five counts of larceny.

Police say a second teen, a 15-year-old boy, remains hospitalized at UNC after inhaling the stolen chemical.

Investigators believe he was inhaling Freon -- a chemical they believe was stolen from several homes in the Crockett's Ridge subdivision over the weekend.

"It was really weird, I mean I just never, I've heard of huffing but, of Freon, I never really thought about that," the homeowner said. The woman asked that she not be identified.

She lives in one of at least two homes Apex police say were robbed of Freon.

"We were called by homeowners who witnessed some juveniles actually taking the Freon from one of the homes and they called us," said Captain Ann Stephens, Apex Police Department.

According to police, the suspects are four teenage boys ranging in ages from 13 to 18.

"From speaking to the juveniles, they're using it for huffing," Stephens said.

Huffing achieves a quick high. An online search revealed an article on the apparent national trend.

Freon is found inside air conditioning units and is accessible in units located outside of homes. It's what helps the unit produce cool air and when ingested or inhaled, Freon can cause headaches, seizures or death.

"It's extremely dangerous," Stephens said. "Obviously, these are children under the age of 16 that are doing this."

The case is the first of its kind reported in Apex. Raleigh police say a 31-year-old man was charged with resisting arrest and inhaling the substance earlier this month.

The Apex homeowner whose house was targeted says she had no idea anyone would be after the Freon in her air conditioner. Now, she will have to dish out hundreds of dollars and is left wondering what else she could have done to protect herself.

"Anyone can come in the evening, at nighttime, and do the same thing," she said.

Police say there is a valve lock that's available for $20 - $30 that can secure an air conditioning unit. They say the lock is only available through a professional, but it is very effective at preventing Freon theft.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Load Comments