Air conditioner thefts have some residents steaming in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Mercedes Harris didn't know her outside heat pump was stolen until she tried to turn it on.

"I don't really know what day it was stolen," she said. "One day I tried to turn it on, and nothing came on."

Harris is not alone. Fayetteville police said there has been a rash of outside air conditioning and heat pump units stolen around the city.

Police suspect the thief or thieves may try and sell some of the 'hot" units to anyone looking for a deal.

"People might be selling these on the side," said Fayetteville Police spokesman Antoine Kincade. "Maybe moonlighting as HVAC technicians, saying, 'Hey I got a unit here that is cheaper than a new one.'"

Many of the homes hit are vacant -- either for sale or rent. Police suspect the thief or thieves disguise themselves as air conditioning repairmen servicing the unit. They hit day and night, and sometimes take the entire outside unit. Other times they cut the copper pipes out.

Police warn neighbors to be on the alert.

"If you see someone tinkering next door, and that house has been empty for two or three years, or maybe just 6 months, call 911 and let an officer come out and make contact," said Kincade.

The brazen crooks hit one home twice in several weeks.

Police advise homeowners to secure their units with a safety fence or alarm. If someone tries to sell you a unit at a bargain price, get a description of that person and call 911.

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