Rincon police are hoping to be hot on the trail of a ring of air conditioner thieves.
A rash of incidents involving air conditioning units — and more importantly, what’s inside them — has Rincon cops looking for the culprits. According to Chief Michael Berry, air conditioning units and parts of the units have been stolen from four businesses and two homes over the past month. One residence had two air conditioning units stolen.
“That residence was vacant and was being redone,” Berry said.
Police say the culprits stole one air conditioner and when it was replaced, they came back for it again.
There are other cases involving those kinds of thefts the police believe may be connected.
“We’re looking for more information on the stolen air conditioners and on the people involved,” Berry said.
The thefts are taking place at night, and the business owners and home owners discover the air conditioning missing the next morning.
“In some instances, it’s not discovered for a week or two,”
They’re after the parts and specifically the copper inside the units.
“That’s what we believe is going on,” Berry said. “They’re getting a lot of money for the copper tubing and the core and for the scrap metal.”
Said Detective David Vales: “They’re getting a substantial amount of money out of it.”
The air conditioners are being taken to scrap yards. Some such yards don’t scrap the material right away. Tracing the parts and the units is difficult, but police say it takes an effort to take the units.
“These are two- and three-ton units,” Vales said. “You don’t just walk off with one of them. You need help to get it.”
Rincon Police said the public can help by calling 911 if they see a suspicious vehicle or if anyone comes across an air conditioner “boneyard,” an area where the unused parts are discarded.