Air conditioner thefts more widespread in Trumbull County - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Air conditioner thefts more widespread in Trumbull County

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Trumbull County, Ohio -

Several businesses in the Valley find themselves facing some very expensive repairs and it's all related to some criminal acts.

Now police say the problem is becoming an issue in cities all over Trumbull County.

Thieves are making just a few dollars by causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage to local businesses.

The criminals are very brazen, hitting well-known and very visible businesses. The air conditioning unit at Pizza Hut on 422 in Niles was just hit and right across from the Eastwood Mall, thieves tore apart a unit at the Vitamin Shoppe.

Authorities believe the culprits use ladders to get on the roofs and they take apart the air conditioners with bolt cutters and hack saws for scrap metal.

Police say it's difficult to catch the thieves in the act.

Detective Ken Criswell from the Niles Police Department said, "Our officers are out doing extra patrols and go around the buildings at night but then again the bad guy can see the headlights coming so we've had some businesses put alarms on the roofs and cameras on the roofs."

Treasures Flea Market in Niles has been hit more than once. Owner Dannette Gibson said, "They hit us six months ago for two main ones then they came back six weeks later after we had those repaired got us for 11 and then came back and got another three. They got the Dollar General next to us they are tearing them up and scrapping them out it makes us hard to keep on surviving."

On top of the flea market roof, where there are 14 of the air conditioning units, the thieves pretty much destroyed all of them. They only got about $50 of scrap out of it but to replace just one of these units costs about $20,000.

Insurance companies are covering most of the damage to these businesses.

Police say they don't really have any suspects in the crimes. They think the thieves are going to scrap yards out of state to try to cash in.

Authorities hope more business owners set up alarms and cameras on their roofs to make sure they aren't an easy target.


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