FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WTVD) -- Fayetteville Police are investigating a series of HVAC thefts.
From June 29 to July 26, police have investigated nine different thefts at nine different locations including churches, office buildings, businesses and vacant residential properties.
Fran Morketter owns Betty Kelly's Gift Shop in Haymount. Her business was the first of the nine cases.
"It was warm in here. we called the AC guy and by the time he came in he couldn't believe it ... 'you gotta see this to believe it,'" said Morketter.
The AC guy was right, Morketter could not believe it.
"Someone had literally taken it apart, thrown the lid into the dumpster and left all the copper," said Morketter.
But why would someone do something like that? Fayetteville Police say there are several reasons.
"Are they stealing some of these metals to take and sell? Or are they actually stealing components because 'Hey my AC is out and I can't afford to get them fixed,'" said Capt. Todd Joyce.
Whatever the reason, it's causing businesses, churches, and hotels to lock up their industrial units.
Morketter had to close her Haymount gift store for a day just to make repairs.
"It was an inconvenience. I was disappointed that anyone would do that. Then when I heard that it was happening to a lot of other people I was amazed," said Morketter.
What's even more amazing is that police said they believe one person is behind this grand scheme targeting large AC units.
"We've seen where two units were stolen, other times it's been parts. So they're doing it under the cover of darkness," Joyce said.
Police are asking anyone with information on the string of crimes to call Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS.
Fayetteville Police hot on the case after rash of AC unit thefts