Air Conditioner on the Fritz? Maybe it’s Been Stolen

copper theft Here’s an embarrassing situation: Your air conditioner stops working so you call out the repair company. When they arrive, they’re puzzled to see a bare concrete slab where your air conditioner used to be. Your AC has been stolen.

This happens and not infrequently, unfortunately. Thieves can sell the copper in an AC unit for about $20, meanwhile causing about $3,000 to $10,000 in damages.

It’s all over the news. In Tennessee, here’s a story about an alarm device for AC units.

In Louisiana, the problem is bad.

It’s even happening in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, where recent thefts have spiked.

In some states, only air conditioning professional are allowed to sell AC copper coils to scrap yards, but in other states, there is no such law.

Copper_Locker_20110728131731_320_240What to do? With each problem in society comes a business opportunity, and there are companies selling alarms and AC cages to prevent this theft here, here and here. The one pictured here is called the Copper Locker.

So next time your AC goes out, take a peek outside before you call the repair folks. It could be worse than you thought.

Photos: Times-Picayune, ABC 15