Arrests made in air conditioner thefts - KOAM TV 7

Arrests made in air conditioner thefts

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Updated June 7, 2012:  Joplin police make arrests in a string of air conditioner thefts we told you about yesterday.

Three men will face charges for stealing AC units from strip malls at 15th Street and on 4th and Florida Streets.

Police used surveillance camera video to track a suspect vehicle.

Authorities say they found the tools used to steal units and were able to get confessions from the Joplin men.

The arrests will also clear cases of stolen AC units in Carl Junction and Jasper County, 25 thefts altogether.

Posted June 6, 2012:  Five air conditioning units disappeared from behind a strip mall on 15th Street in Joplin, forcing businesses there to open doors for air today.  Also overnight, another four air conditioning units disappeared from a strip mall at 4th and Florida Streets.

The units are mostly copper and aluminum and police say are of high value now for scrapping.

Officials say unfortunately the units are easy to steal but it's a serious crime.

"It's going to be a felony," says Cpl. Chuck Niess of the Joplin Police Department.  "Most air conditioners, the condenser unit is going to be $2,500 and up so that makes it easily a felony and you also have the environmental  problem when you cut the lines you're releasing all the refrigerant into the atmosphere, which that's a violation of federal law, so several crimes going on there."

Police say homeowners can also be targets of air conditioner thieves, especially homes under construction or repair.

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