Tyler, TX (KETK) — Air conditioning units are in high demand when temperatures get warmer. Homeowners need them, and criminals want them.
KETK spoke with Don Martin, the Public Information Officer for the Tyler Police Department, who said, "So far for this year for 2014, we've had 16 air conditioning units stolen in the city of Tyler from January to present day". These include both window units and the larger stationary systems. Martin explained, "They start from March up through July, and they're averaging around two or three a month".
According to air conditioning experts, these thefts often occur because of the valuable copper and metals used inside the system. John Brindley, the Vice President of Tyler Weathermakers, Inc., said, "A lot of it follows the copper prices. As copper prices go up then the theft problems go up, because very seldom do people want an air conditioning unit. They're just going to scrap it out".
The precious metals used for the housing and casing on the unit can bring in more than $50 a piece, but repairing the units can cost home owners around $3,000.
So in order to protect your investment, Brindley has some suggestions. "I've always said keep the honest people honest. Don't make it easy for them. If the unit is in the back of the house that's much better, if it's over on the side of the house outside the gate, even shrubs are a good deterrent". Installing gates, locks, or security systems will also help, as long it hinders easy access or an easy getaway.