Air conditioner burglars target Auburn-Opelika

By Chris Vessell bio | email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Police in Auburn and Opelika have been increasing patrols after a rash of air conditioner burglaries. Now their turning up the heat on the burglars, asking the public for assistance in catching them.

Brand new neighborhoods in both cities are being hit hard by the air conditioning burglaries. "Primarily over the last two months, May and June, we've had a number of air conditioning units stolen from construction sites," Capt. Tom Stofer, Auburn Police Public Information Officer said.

More than 20 have been stolen in Auburn, and even more in Opelika. "Date range between March 25th and June 29th, there's been a total of 32 air conditioners stolen within the city limits of Opelika," Capt. Allan Elkins, Opelika Police PIO said.

Burglars have stolen most of the air conditioning units from new-home construction sites. A number of manufacturer brands have been taken, and most all of them have been brand new.

"At this time we're not sure if these units are taken out of town, out of state, being installed by thieves to unknowing customers. At this time we don't know," Elkins said.

Police are investigating, but they have no leads as of yet. They're asking the public to call them if they see any suspicious activity.

"If you pass by a construction site or a business late at night, or maybe in the wee hours of the morning, and you see people in or around that business {or home} that wouldn't normally be there, again we would ask the community to get involved," Stofer said.

"If anybody sees any people who do not appear to be reputable, call immediately," Elkins added.

Many of the air conditioning units are valued at $2000 - $3000 dollars, serious dollars leading to serious crime. "We just can't let this go on and continue. These businesses are suffering, these builders who are putting up these homes in Auburn are suffering," Stofer said.

If caught, the criminals would face felony charges with up to 20 years in prison.

If you have any information that would help investigators in this case, you should contact Auburn Police at 334-501-3100 or Opelika Police at 334-705-5200.