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As The Heat Rises, So Does The Number Of AC Unit Thefts

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The thermometer hit 90 degrees for the first time this spring, but there’s no relief from the heat for some Minneapolis residents.

Thieves have again targeted air conditioning units for the copper and aluminum payday that’s inside. Such thefts occur across the metro, but they are most prevalent in north Minneapolis.

Since Jan. 1, there have been more than 100 reports of burgled air conditioning units in the metro. More than 15 have been looted since the beginning of May.

Three houses — all on the same north Minneapolis block – fell victim over the last two days.

Sisters Krissy and Erin Svensson are now preparing to spend a hot night Friday without central air. They live on the same block, in different houses, and both of their units were burglarized.

Krissy Svensson said she remembers hearing the robbers.

“I head something: I checked both of my doors…and I did not think to check outside my window and look at the side of the house, where my air conditioning is,” she said.

Not much remains of their units, which were gutted of copper coils. Similar remains were left at the home of Elaine Vincent, a neighbor.

“They took off the top and then just cut the line to the condenser and pulled it out,” Vincent said.

The victims believe their stolen property ends up in scrap yards, like Re-Alliance Scrap and Metal in Minneapolis.

The manager Re-Alliance said the company follows state law, asking scrap sellers for ID and personal information. He said they also take a picture of what is sold just in case there is an issue.

To prevent such thefts, people are looking for ways to secure their property. The Svenssons would like cable that would make the unit more difficult to open.

Some say another way to protect a unit is to build a cage around it with a padlock. Others are opting to build decks on the second level of their homes to keep the units out of reach of thieves.

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