Heating and Cooling Unit Thefts on the Rise

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Frustration is boiling over for residents of a Huntington community that's fed up with increasing crime.

This comes after a thief ripped air conditioning units out of the ground in part of downtown Huntington.

Many people in the 4th Street and 6th Avenue area said, instead of worrying about everyday problems, they now have to keep a closer look at their belongings, including their air conditioning units.

Huntington Police said they've seen a large number of A/C unit thefts all over the city in the past few weeks.

Officials said people are stealing the units and selling the copper for drugs.

The thefts came as a surprise to neighbors who spoke with WSAZ.com.

One person found two entire units gone. Another neighbor found just shreds of metal, and another man's unit was ripped wide open.

They all said these thefts could cost them into the thousands of dollars, money they didn't really have in the first place.

"It was during the daytime.We were gone from seven in the morning until two in the afternoon, broad daylight. I have exposed wires and everything, still," said Joyce Hughes.

"It's new, but it has happened before. I don't want to say it's seasonal, but it happens from time to time," Huntington Police Detective Steven Fitz said.

Huntington Police said they have made an arrest in the thefts, but wouldn't elaborate.

They said they are still investigating the reports and looking for other suspects.

Officials also said they believe the thefts are connected.

In the meantime, neighbors said they're ready for things to change and they hope police can stop these thefts from happening again soon.

Police officers said there are things you can do to help protect your air conditioners.

They said adding a light or a fence can make a difference. Also, working with neighbors to create a watch system can help prevent these thefts.

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