Police dealing with an uptick in air conditioner and copper thefts

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Numerous air conditioning units have been stolen from several businesses around the Jonesboro area, according to Jonesboro police reports.

Most air conditioning units are being stolen to strip out the copper and sell for a profit.  In just a week's time, Jonesboro Police havereported three separate incidents.

The businesses hit were very close to oneanother and all were off E. Johnson Ave. These cases are still underinvestigation so it is unknown if the incidents are related.

One of the businesses hit was Lost Creek Apartment complex.

"Somebody had went into apartment A, got up into theattic, and then just kinda went down through apartment A, B, and C and startedtaking out wire," said Manager Debra Hickson.

Hickson also lives at Lost Creek and said this is the first time they've had aproblem with theft.

"I mean they even stripped the wire in the apartmentsand left, you know, the stuff in the apartments where the cases from the copper," she said.

She said lately she has noticed a lot of homes and businessesare being targeted for copper.

"People's air units coming up missing, empty houseshave been broken into and vandalized and basically stripped of everything andit's really getting bad, especially on this side of town," Hickson said.

Sgt. Lyle Waterworth with the Jonesboro Police Department said they have seen a number a copper thefts and precious metal thefts in the area.

"When I say preciousmetal it could be copper or heavy metals anything people can sell at arecycling area," Waterworth said.

He said businesses should take certainprecautions to keep their units safe.

"Discreetlocations make them perfect targets for people who want to take them becausenobody notices them," he said.

"Put lighting around the back of their business,motion sensitive lighting so when someone were to come up it wouldautomatically activate the light."

Waterworth says this will help when officers are outpatrolling because if they see a light on they are not use toseeing they will drive around back and look at the area.

Hickson says Lost Creek has the only home she'dknown but now she is considering moving.

"It reallybothers me because I know times are changing and everything and it's just I'velived here just about all my life and I really don't want to move just yet," she said.

"Butyou know all this keeps going on, I'm not gonna have a choice because I'm notgonna have a business that's worth running and worth keeping."

Hickson encourages people to speak out if they seesomething because it is really hurting local businesses.

"Basically if you know what's going on, you need tosay something because, you know, you might sit there and think, 'Well they won'tnever do that to you,' but uh, yeah they will," she said.

Waterworth said every recycling company in the state is required to report every sale of metals to the police department.

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