Business Security Alert: Thieves Target Air Conditioners for Copper Chicagoland Local and Family Owned

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Business Security Alert: Thieves Target Air Conditioners for Copper

  • May 29, 2015
  • by Carlos Lopez

A Florida man was charged earlier this month with stealing the copper from 20 commercial air conditioners — and he’s not alone. Criminals across the country have been targeting a seemingly unlikely candidate for theft — the air conditioner. From churches to hospitals and even golf courses, criminals are targeting these unlikely targets.

The condenser portion of your air conditioning unit is tempting to thieves because it is packed full of copper wire. Once the unit is stripped, the wire can easily be sold to a scrapper for profit — and it can’t be traced. Air conditioner theft can happen to anyone, particularly commercial facilities. The larger the AC unit you have, the more tempting it will be for thieves, since a bigger unit means more wire to sell.

In some cases, like the recent Florida case above, the thief doesn’t even bother removing the entire unit; he simply strips the copper wire, leaving the now worthless compressor behind. Safeguarding your air conditioner can save you time aggravation and money — and prevention is easier than you think.

How to Protect your Commercial Air Conditioner from Copper Theft

Get a Security Review: The fastest and easiest way to ensure you are protected is to have a business security company conduct a review of your current setup and highlight potential dangers and exposures.

Secure your exterior unit: Make sure your AC is fenced in and that it is difficult to access the unit without permission. Thieves faced with a locked case may look for an easier target. Fencing should be high enough to deter climbing by unauthorized persons and include a gate with a secure lock.

Monitor the area: Install and use video monitoring to stop theft in progress- and make sure your staff knows who should — and shouldn’t access your A/C. The visible presence of a camera could be a deterrent – and make the potential thief choose an easier, unmonitored target.

Make it a 24 hour job: Your air conditioner may be most at risk overnight, so make sure the area is well lit and patrolled by your security staff. Make any evening or overnight workers aware of the potential theft risk to ensure that they call the authorities if they spot someone attempting to access or remove the unit.

If you are concerned about copper or other metal theft and want to learn more about protecting your facility, contact us or follow our blog for the latest safety and security news and tips.


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