A/C Unit Burglaries Rising in the Stateline

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford Police officers have been called to the city's south-east side after more than a dozen central air-conditioning units are stolen from businesses and homes.

It’s becoming a trend nationwide and it's becoming a big problem locally.

"It's upsetting frustrating and it gets expensive,” “it's not a good feeling when you see someone has stolen your stuff,” "I think it's bad" --these quotes are all from Rockford businessmen who work in completely different fields.

However they're losing thousands of dollars to the same problem theft.

"They’re getting away with it so it's more and more prevalent."

The Rockford police department says suspects are stealing air-conditioning units from businesses and homes stripping the expensive devices of copper and then selling it for as little as 30 to 75 dollars.

Total Concept owner Tom Schrader said, "That's the sad part about it, the economy is tough and people are doing what they got to do I guess.”

Total Concept Salon's landlord came up with his own concept to preventing theft he moved the air conditioning units to the roof after they were stolen twice.

One business on old Charles Street nailed the device to metal beams while an auto shop on South Alpine is considering a new security system.

Architect Terry Carbaugh said, "There’s not much we can do, it's sitting outside for the taking I guess.”

Police say in the last month more than a dozen units were stolen from the city's south-east side.

The police department is now deploying extra officers to search for suspects. Owner Mark Leiws with Midas on South Alpine says the problem has gotten so bad thieves are actually stealing "no- trespassing signs" to make some extra cash.

He said, "You're trying to make a living, fixing peoples cars and at the same time, and on the side I have to watch who is stealing from us."

It’s not just air-conditioning units: thieves are also steal scraps from cars and are stripping pipes in newly constructed homes. Some scrap-yards say they just can't track where the pieces are coming from, although they ask for identification when it comes to some copper.

These thefts have become a huge problem on college campuses. Recently, 56 air conditioning units were stolen from Illinois State University.

Police are still investigating the 25-thousand dollar theft.


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