POMPANO BEACH (CBS4)- Police are investigating after a number of air conditioning units were targeted in a Pompano Beach area, and the thieves were after copper wire.
Norm Casper said he can't believe thieves hit his upholstery shop again. And he's not alone.
"It's happened to the whole street," Casper exclaimed.
He said this is the third time he has been ripped off and each time they took the air conditioner.
"This last time," he explained while standing over his new air conditioning unit, "they took the cover off, stole all the copper and put it back together."
Casper's neighbor also said he's fed up. Now he's trying to outsmart the crooks.
"In the past two years, they've taken two units," said Angel Rentas. "So we decided to put cages and bouganvilla trees. That way it makes it a little harder for them to take it from us."
BSO Sgt. Jeff Morse said the thieves steal from buildings, especially on weeknights.
"Some of these guys are brazen," explained Morse. "They'll get a ladder and go right up on the roof. Cops say teams of crooks work these industrial complexes – mostly at night and on the weekend and usually in ratty old pickups."
Morse said they usually steal from multiple buildings.
"They won't stop at one, they'll hit one of these buildings like this, get up on a the roof and take, 5, 6, 7, a/c units…$30,000 loss."
Police said the thieves are after copper wire. The price is way up and can get up to $3.70 a pound, which means it can be sold for cash.
It's happening in cities all over the place – another attractive target – foreclosed homes, police said.
"(They) cut the line right from the wall, ripped it out," Morse pointed out while standing by an empty slab where an A/C unit once sat. "This whole theft may have taken two or three minutes."
Deputies warn neighbors that the thieves look like repair men fixing up vacant homes.
They suggest that if you see anyone snooping around a foreclosed home, or even an occupied house, call the police.
for more features.