Thieves stealing AC units in Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Apparently even criminals can't beat the heat. Several air conditioning units have been stolen in Ettrick and police are asking you to be on the lookout.

Usually thieves just want the metal inside the AC unit. They can scrap it for cash, but sometimes criminals will keep it for themselves -- not terribly surprising with this heat.

Neighbors say the 20400 block of Williams road in Ettrick is full of retired people and students from nearby Virginia State University.

The house next to Theresa Morgan is usually full of college students but is empty with school out for the summer. That house had several AC units stolen. She says she didn't see anything out of place.

"I stay to myself most of the time," Morgan said.  "I don't know the people around me, I don't know the college students there."

One of the biggest problems for police are neighbors who might mistake thieves for a repair man.

"In the middle of the day," said Sgt. David Higgins of the Chesterfield County police department.  "Someone in a work truck or anyone around an AC unit may not arouse suspicion with your neighbors."

Police say some victims may not even notice parts are missing until they try to turn the air conditioning on.

"Maybe now they're trying to turn on these systems and they find that these systems are not working," he said.  "They'll contact the air conditioning unit man, he looks at it and says, 'the unit is not here' or 'parts of that unit are missing.'"

Neighbors along Williams street say they're going to start paying more attention to anyone near one of their AC units.

"I wouldn't think anything of it," Morgan said.  "I've been here 16 years and the whole time there hasn't been any type of police activity, any kind of vandalism. This street is basically as quiet as a mouse."

Police say air conditioning thefts come in waves. It's not uncommon to have a string of AC unit thefts in one area by one person.

If you have any information about the AC unit thefts in Ettrick, you're asked to call Chesterfield Police at 748-1251.

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