ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — Thieves struck a popular Robbinsdale restaurant, leaving the spot without air conditioning in the thick of summer.

Someone cracked open Travail Kitchen and Amusements AC unit on their roof and stole the copper earlier this month. The same thing happened to another nearby business.

“We noticed that the restaurant was a little bit warm, was about 80, 82 degrees,” co-owner Mike Brown said.

Brown said they were puzzled in early August when it was hotter inside than out. They found the problem on the roof.

“Someone had basically ripped the chest plate off all of our units,” Brown said.

The AC units were stripped of their copper coils. Payday America discovered the same thing and reported the theft to police.

“These people knew what they were doing, knew what they were looking for,” Robbinsdale Police Officer Andrea Faue said.

Faue said this trend tapered off as the economy improved, but clearly thieves are still hard at work.

“What they do is they cut out the copper coils probably with something as simple as a sawzall and they trade in the copper at a plant and get some money for it,” Faue said.

The thieves likely made a few hundred bucks. Payday reported an $8,000 loss. Travail $30,000. Theirs is covered by insurance.

The restaurant did find a way to stay open and keep it cool. Fans worked for a few days, then they hauled in a huge AC unit until theirs could be replaced.

“That was the quickest thinking we could do is call the people we know that have 25-ton units, retrofit a door and just pump 25 tons of AC into the restaurant,” Brown said.

Brown would like to see the person who set them back caught.

“That’s not cool, that’s not cool I mean nobody wants to suffer in the summer,” Brown said.

Police ask anyone with information to come forward. Travail plans to add cameras to their property that will monitor the roof.

Jennifer Mayerle

Comments