Air conditioning repair businesses are now prime targets for bold metal thieves.
Three Albany men were spotted stripping copper tubing and metal from air conditioners stored behind one repair business Thursday morning. Quick responding police caught them.
Air conditioning repair business owners tell me that some metal thieves are not content stripping one air conditioner for metal. They are breaking into the businesses and stealing the metal from dozens of units.
Climate Masters Heating and Cooling on Pine Avenue has a big mess in their back yard. Early in the morning 3 thieves were stripping copper from these units that were in their backyard, throwing it over their fence into an alley. They say it's the fourth time this year they've been hit.
General Manager Joe Fallin said "It's usually around summer time, when we are real busy. Get a lot of units in the back, is usually when it happens."
But this time a neighbor spotted three men in the yard, and called Police. Fast responding officers spotted the men, and picked them up at the Krystal's on West Ogelthorpe. They are in the Dougherty County jail charged with theft and criminal damage. Fallin estimates the damage at close to 5 thousand dollars. And he says most of the other air conditioning companies are having the same problem with metal thieves. Fallin says he is glad Police caught these thieves, but he believes the E.P.A. should add refrigerant release violations onto air conditioning theft charges, and add more jail time for these frequent thefts.
Fallin said "Keep them in jail longer maybe they would think twice about going and cutting a unit."
Fallin said his men spend a lot of time repairing units for victims of air conditioning metal theft, and they know how much it is costing the community, so he hopes these arrests will keep someone else from becoming a victim.
Albany Police are spending a lot of time on these air conditioning metal thefts, because there have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages done in recent years across the community.
The three suspects are in the Dougherty County jail charged with felony theft by taking, theft by receiving, and criminal damage to property.
Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved. Feedback
More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>