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Air Conditioning Thefts in Newbern

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

NEWBERN, Tenn. - A rash of thefts has left victims feeling very hot in West Tennessee.

Large home air conditioning units are being targeted by thieves in Dyer County. Investigators said the crooks are cashing in on the summer heat wave. With the summer heat reaching well into the 100's over the past few weeks, Lieutenant Rodney Wright said the units are a hot item right now. "We feel like they have stolen them to sell them for scrap metal, to get the aluminum and the copper out of them," he said.

Investigators said three air conditioning units have been stolen in the past two weeks. Each were taken from empty rental properties.

Neighbors said they fear they might be next. "I don't like it my little girl is four and I try to keep her as safe as possible. If mine were to be stolen I wouldn't be able to afford another one, so I would just be in trouble," said Christina Fincher.

Police said the thieves carefully unscrewed and disconnected the units, which leads them to believe they could be put back on the market. "We think its definitely a possibility that they could be trying to re sell them ya know just as a used unit," said Wright.

In one of the houses that was targeted, Wright said thieves broke into the external storage shed and ripped out the copper wiring connected to the electrical box. Neighbors said they are shocked no one noticed the thieves taking their time. "That's ridiculous people should not do people like that they just should not i think its crazy," said Fincher.

The stolen units cost anywhere from $2,000 -4,000 which makes this case a felony charge, said police. Residents said they fear for the safety of their elderly neighbors.

"It does bother me for the older people, because you know they could have heat strokes or something if someone stole their air conditioning unit," said Fincher.

Wright believes this was an organized crime that involved more than one person. Police are warning residents to take extra precaution over the next few weeks.

"Try to keep things lit up and illuminated as well as they can, keep some security lights going if you don't have any try and install them, consider security systems and things like that and just be good neighbors," said Wright.

Police also suggest to residents to not post on Facebook, when they are going to be away on vacation. Wright said, posting about vacations is nothing more than an invitation for thieves.

If you have any information in this case call Newbern police or Dyer county crime stoppers.