PHOENIX, Ariz. – It’s a new twist to an old crime. Three air conditioning units were stolen over the weekend instead of just the copper inside.
“Cut the copper lines and loaded up the units, the complete units and took the whole unit,” said Clint Brennan with Due-All Air Conditioning and Heating.
According to Brennan, it's faster for thieves to take the whole thing rather than tear it all apart.
“I'm going to guess they probably did it in 10 or 15 minutes and they were in and out, very quick,” said Brennan.
They are very costly to replace. “$2,000 to $4,000 a unit, at least,” said Brennan.
It's not uncommon to hear about copper thefts but stealing the entire unit that's relatively new.
“Urban mining as this is called is a very common crime,” explained Timothy Zehring, an insurance agent that has handled many stolen air conditioning units.
“One of the best things you can do to prevent it from happening to you is painting your metal, because then it becomes dirty and the recyclers don't want it,” said Zehring.
Zehring said he's seeing more and more actual ground units "as a whole" being taken rather than destroyed for the copper inside.
“Most people think this will never happen to me, they read about it, they hear about it, but they believe it can happen to them,” Zehring said.
Clint Brennan who replaces many of these stolen units recommended people protect their cool air by adding security.
“You shouldn't, in a perfect world, yeah, you should never have to do it, but we don't live in a perfect world,” said Brennan.