Now A/C is wired against thieves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Now A/C is wired against thieves

July 27, 2007

Albany -- Copper thefts continue to rise in Albany, so now security experts are trying to outsmart criminals.

There's a new device you can put on your air conditioning unit that will alert you if someone tries to steal the copper out of it.

Just as Miles Goosmann was moving into his rental house, he discovered major problems inside and out. "When we first started moving in, we had to replace the plumbing, the electrical wiring, they even stole the telephone line. Everything, they stole everything."

Including the pipes underneath the house. "I was surprised at how much they had taken, and I've actually climbed under the house and they had actually been staying and living underneath the house," he said.

And the inside of a $3,500 A/C unit. So that unit, along with many others had to be replaced, but some extra security was added.

"We have them all over town," said Gene Kirk with Central monitoring says 50% of his time is now spent on securing A/C units with a new device.

"This is a brand new unit here on Roosevelt because the other one was stolen. The house right next store, the unit was stolen and we put the same setup on it," said Kirk.

The wireless device ties into the main alarm system. If it's set off, a siren inside the home sounds, hopefully scaring the crook while alerting the police.

"If they're really smart," said Kirk, "when that siren goes off, they are gone."

Lt. Benita Childs with Albany Police says the more difficult you make it for a crook to get away with theft, the less likely for you to become a victim. "Criminal element, they don't want to take a lot of time. They want to get in and out."

And Goosmann says the money it costs for added protection is more than worth the thousands of dollars it saves. "With a $3,500 unit, it's only beneficial to do so."

And he says the only person he's had to worry about setting of the system is himself.

If you don't want to install an alarm system, you may also want to check with a locksmith and have a cage or bars placed over your unit for protection.

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