AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Copper thieves are costing some Americus businesses thousands of dollars in damage and repairs. The criminals are going after the copper tubing on the back of air conditioning units.
With temperatures near 80 degrees, AC units are a necessity but thieves cutting copper tubes have rendered many of them useless. And after nearly a dozen such instances, police are stepping up to stop the crimes.
"They get some returns for not a lot of work so and they only people suffering are the people who's property is being damaged," said Sgt. Anthony Jackson at the Americus Police Department.
Police say 9 or 10 businesses have become victims including this Advanced Auto Parts and Regional Eye Center. Most of these crimes are happening in the business district on Lamar and Forsyth.
"We've been trying to keep our eye on those locations and try to increase patrols around those areas to see if we can curtail it or possibly catch some suspects in the act," said Jackson.
The units are located at the back of many of these businesses, in dark areas where passer-bys may not be able to see.
"We do have alley ways and you know how downtown areas are constructed so that does present a problem but we've been trying to stay on top of it," said Jackson.
Advance Auto Parts has replaced their copper, as has Regional Eye Care, but many others have copper and even entire units to replace.
Police hope to catch these criminals before anyone else becomes a victim.
Jackson believes the copper may be sold at scrap yards outside of Americus, but says the ones around town are helpful when it comes to these investigations.
If you've bought copper tubing, or you've seen anything suspicious, you're asked to call the Americus Police Department.