CAMERON: A/C unit thefts spike in Harnett Co. - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

A/C unit thefts spike in Harnett Co.

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The Harnett County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning alerting residents to a sudden spike in thefts of outdoor heating and air conditioner units. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN) The Harnett County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning alerting residents to a sudden spike in thefts of outdoor heating and air conditioner units. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN)
CAMERON, N.C. -

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning alerting residents to a sudden spike in thefts of outdoor heating and air conditioner units.

Deputies say thieves in Harnett County are targeting HVAC units at homes that are under construction, and those that are for sale and unoccupied. 

"With the price of copper going up, they're getting everything they can off these units," explained Jeff Lyles with Rural Plumbing and Heating. "What they're going after is the copper. Also what they're really going after is the coil. It actually brings more money than the copper itself."

Because they are hitting homes under construction, detectives say thieves are sometimes going inside the homes so they can rip off copper pipes and fittings.

"That's just amazing to me because you could take that effort and put it towards something constructive instead of trying to steal from others," said Colby Yarborough, who discovered his HVAC unit was stolen.

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office said in many cases the entire HVAC unit is stolen, which allows the thieves to break down the 125-pound unit at the own convenience without a chance of getting caught.

State law requires anyone who sells copper HVAC parts to a scrap yard to work for a licensed HVAC firm, however deputies say copper thieves often find ways to skirt the law.

A new HVAC unit starts at $1,500.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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