City sees rash of air conditioner thefts

Vermilion police Chief Christopher Hartung isn’t cool with the recurring thefts of home air conditioning units.
Sandusky Register Staff
Dec 25, 2013
Since July, there have been more than half a dozen thefts of AC units in the city, as well as one unsuccessful attempt.

 

   The most recent incident was last week.

 

   “I’m talking about the whole big thing that is on the side of the house, not just the window unit” Vermilion police Sgt. Stephen Davis said. “People chop them up and take them to the scrapyard and sell them”

 

   Officer Corey Spoores was patrolling at 3 a.m. Dec. 16 on Edgewater Drive when he came across two vacant homes where AC units were stolen. He followed tracks in the snow and took photos of the footprints, then came across a suspicious looking man in the neighborhood.

 

   The suspect, Tyler Weaver, 29, took off running, police said.

 

   “The officer knocked on the door and said he followed the footprints leading to the home and Weaver agreed to let him inside,” Davis said. “Weaver produced a bunch of shoes to match the tracks, but none of them were the ones they were looking for”

 

   What Weaver didn’t bring out: the wet boots that were drying in his living room. Sure enough, the boot treads matched footprint patterns the officer found in the snow, police said.

 

   Officers obtained a search warrant, and inside the home they found a broken piece of an air conditioning unit that matched the wiring at the Edgewater Drive home.

 

   “It was like solving a puzzle. It was a perfect fit,” Davis said. “We charged him for the theft of that air condition unit”

 

   Weaver was charged with felony theft, criminal damaging and criminal trespass.

 

   Davis said officers haven’t recovered any of the stolen air conditioning units.

 

   “We even went to the scrapyards, but you can’t just say, ‘Someone scrapped an AC unit,’” he said. “Plus, we believe it was under a different person’s name.

 

   “We’re trying to compare our thefts, but with so many parts and pieces, it’s hard to say where they all came from” he said.

 

   Tracie Ramos, manager of Lorain County Recycling, said the scrapyard gives 11.5 cents per pound for recycling.

 

   “It varies, but normally we give $10 or $15 (for a window air conditioning unit)” Ramos said.

 

   Hartung said patrols are being increased for the holiday season. Homeowners who are headed off on vacations can ask police to keep an eye on their homes. Forms are available at the police department.

 

   “Residents should remain vigilant, and if they see suspicious people in their neighborhoods or anything out of the ordinary, give us a call” Hartung said. “Better safe than sorry”

Comments

Dinghy Gal

$10-15 per ac unit, hmmm. Make more at Wal-Mart don't ya know

Dinghy Gal

$10-15 per ac unit, hmmm. Make more at Wal-Mart don't ya know

Nemesis

But WalMart would require a drug test.

Kingsin

Dinghy Gal, that would be an honest way to make a living- which some are just incapable of.

berlinrdgang

drug money....it's all about drug money and it is only going to get worse. Kids are hooked on prescription pills and will do anything anymore to get them. And we all thought pot was so bad!

BabyMomma

You may have thought it was bad. I've never been that naive to think pot was as bad as the government wishes/tells us it is.

2sense

All that just for drugs.

Señor Clown

Here's a thought - Go after the scrap yards pursuant to the Clean Air Act. They aren't allowed to take in scrap that once contained freon unless they recover the freon themselves, or can verify that it had been recovered properly.

The article states that they're stealing the compressor and condenser units from central air and heat pump systems, not window units. Then a quote is given for what a window unit is worth in scrap - $10-$15. The outside unit from a central air system will likely fetch triple that amount, but cost 100 times that amount to replace. With the mandatory record keeping and compliance that the scrap yards are supposed to be adhering to, I'd like to see them start seizing assets and revoking licenses for those who refuse to do so. With the threat of losing millions in inventory, equipment, and property, they might be a little more cautious about who they buy from.

Kingsin

Seems like an awful lot of work (and risk) for $10-15 bucks- heck, I'll pay 'em that to come shovel my walk or mow my grass in the summer.