INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Police are looking for a man caught on camera stealing an air conditioning unit. It happened at the Community Spirits on 30th Street next to the Douglas Park Golf Course.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officials say this type of crime is being reported all across the city.
Mario Castello is another victim. He works with MC Enterprises and said a brand new air conditioning unit at one of his rental properties on Reformers Avenue was stolen Sept. 7.
“The tenants just called me and said the house is warm. They went out to check what was going on and the air conditioning unit was gone,” said Castello.
This is the first time Castello had this happen at one of his rental properties, but police say it might be more common than you think.
24-Hour News 8 found more than 40 reports of air conditioning unit thefts in Indianapolis since the beginning of May. That averages out to a couple cases per week.
Jeff Chapman runs Chapman Heating and Cooling. He said criminals are after the copper and aluminum in the units.
Chapman said it’s not uncommon for his company to get calls from homes and businesses that have damaged or missing units. One of the businesses he worked with was hit twice in one week.
“We had a job earlier this year that we put new units on a building that units had been stolen, or gutted and over the weekend they (criminals) gutted the new ones because they didn’t have any security,” said Chapman.
Chapman said security is key to protecting to your unit.
“If you have an existing alarm system in your home they can facilitate wiring in your air conditioning that will recognize when it’s disturbed… On a commercial basis we see them fenced in. We even have areas in town where on a residential basis we may have them bolted to a concrete pad or have a semi cage over the top,” said Chapman.
Those are options Castello said he will consider for his rental properties from here on out.
“It was our fault probably not to secure the unit. We will do it next time for sure,” said Castello.
He’s also hoping neighbors will step up and keep an eye out for each other.
“It is very evident that the people that stole this unit knew when the tenants are in the house, when they go to work, and it was easy for them to access. If the neighbors can see around some suspicious activities it will be great to keep a watch on everybody in the neighborhoods,” said Castello.
That is something IMPD encourages everyone to do.
“If they’re driving and they happen to glance behind a business, if they see a truck out there in the parking lot, especially a closed business, give us a call. Let us come out and investigate and make sure they belong on that property,” said IMPD Officer Jim Gillespie.
Police also suggest increasing lighting around your home or business and adding surveillance cameras to your property.
“It’s a very bad feeling. I don’t wish this to anybody,” said Castello about the theft.
If you have any information about who the man in the surveillance photo is call Crime Stopper at 317-262-TIPS.