Copper / AC Theft Epidemic

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Last updated: 
October 11, 2011


A nationwide crime wave is taking place, and the target is our air conditioning units. It sounds crazy and it is! Criminals are stealing air conditioning units for their copper. The price of scrap metal is at an all time high while the economy is at an all time low.  Put those two together and theft, even murder can be the result. How you ask? Well  for example in  Oak Cliff, Texas some low life’s decided they wanted the few dollars an elderly women’s air conditioning unit would bring as scrap so they stole it. In the midst of the hottest summer in 31 years!  What’s worse the unit was in a locked protective cage after having had two AC units stolen in previous years. Sadly the poor women died from a heat related illness two days after reporting the theft. If these skunks are ever caught a case could possibly be made for murder, only if.  Today there are copper theft stories in newspapers and police logs from nearly every state in the country.   Now, we always had a certain amount of theft from new construction sites and the like. However, today existing homes as well as commercial buildings and especially churches have become targets of these dirt bags.

What’s being done?

The police are helpless unless they can catch them in the act. Some states, Texas in particular has enacted new laws governing the scrap yards and recyclers. One that we visited with had to install a new computer system costing them thousands of dollars. They can now by law only accept air conditioning units from licensed contractors or their agents. A contractor must have his
contractor’s license and driver’s license scanned into the computer system.  A homeowner who has his or her air conditioning unit replaced and wishes to recycle their old one can show the
recycling yard the invoice showing that they purchased a new air conditioner and are therefore allowed to recycle one old one.

Job Creation

A new business has sprung up selling protective cages for air conditioning units, these cages
actually make it look like the air conditioner is the one in jail.  Sometimes even they can be compromised by a desperate thief. Other companies are selling alarm systems that wire the air
conditioning units into the home alarm system.

The Future

Hopefully other states will take strong measures and enact laws similar to Texas making jail times and punishment more stringent for these types of thefts. Sadly as is always the case someone looking to make a fast illegal buck always seems to cost the average citizens their hard earned money in direct and indirect ways.

The photo below shows what happens to air conditioning units once thieves get their filthy hands on them.

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