Serial air conditioner thieves arrested - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Serial air conditioner thieves arrested

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A husband and wife, who recently went to an East Albany church for help, are now charged with doing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the church's air conditioners. Investigators say they have been gutting air conditioners in East Albany for close to two years.

The congregation and neighbors of the Church helped stop the thefts.

Investigators charged 23 year old Joshua Morris and his 26 year old wife Shamekia Morris with criminal damage to more than two dozen air conditioners. Police say they brought in their 19 year old neighbor John Thomas to work with them a few months ago. But Investigators admit there is no telling how many air conditioners they have gutted for the copper and aluminum in recent years.

Albany Police Detective Tim Harvey said "Right now we are looking at proving at least 20 to 25. Estimation, there is really no telling how much they have actually done in the last two years."

The three are charged with ripping apart five air conditioners November 12th at the Greater Second Mt Olive Church, and many more at their housing units. Church officials say they were helping the Morris', when their air conditioners were stripped.

Reverend Lorenzo Heard said "Not that's painful. To know that somebody you helped, was trying to help, would turn around and rob from you."

Reverend Heard says Morris told them he could do air conditioner and construction work. When we reported on the air conditioner damage, Reverend Heard called on people in the community to help catch the thieves. Several gave him and Police the information they needed.

Reverend Heard said "Tipped us off, and with the small leads that we did have, we gave them to APD Investigators, and they solved it. And I'm very happy because we never would have known who it was."

Reverend Heard says the three did more than $20,000 in damage to the air conditioners at the church and their housing units. Police say their arrest should calm the air conditioner theft problems in East Albany.

Harvey said "I think it's going to make a huge difference. Because especially with as many as we can prove that have happened recently, that has happened from just these three people. I believe we are going to see a dramatic drop in A. C. thefts."

Police are working with metal scrap yards and other counties law enforcement to see just how many more charges the three air conditioner thieves will face. They say it will be many.

The Morris' and Thomas are also charged with gutting air conditioners at the Georgia DNR law enforcement center, the Bill Miller and Turner Recreation Centers, and dozens of other homes and businesses in East Albany.

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