The Call Came In Yesterday, "the Outside A/C unit at your Vacant Rental House has been Stolen..."

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. BK629999

"Hello?," I answered the phone.

"When was the last time you were over at your vacant rental house?" the familiar voice asked.  "Your outside air conditioning unit has been stolen and so has mine!"

"What?"  

It was the next door neighbor that owns a rental house next to me.  His and mine are currently advertised for rent.

He proceeded to tell me that his outside unit was gone, so, knowing that my rental was  empty also, he walked over to the back yard of my house.

Sure, enough, someone had opened the top of the unit, and cut the coils out of the system.  They left the fan motor, the outsides and everything else.

I had heard about this happening, but I didn't expect it to happen to me!

"I'm calling the police to file a report, do you want me to tell them about yours too?"

"I'll be right over," I said.

copper thievesWe filed the reports with the police.

We called our friend that installs the air conditioning systems on our rentals.  He told my husband that we were about the 30th person that had called him this year, that have gotten the coils stolen out of their air conditioning system.  The system is no good without them, so it requires a new outside unit. 

He said that the thieves are scrapping the coils for the aluminum and copper out of them.  They are getting about $35 per coil at the scrap yard. They don't take the complete systems because they can't get enough money for the rest of the unit.

These thieves are also stealing copper and the coils out of commercial air conditioning systems at construction sites to take to the scrap yard.

So, be aware I have heard that this is going in various areas of Brevard County Florida right now. This is about the sixth instance of this I have heard in the last 3 months.

I just wanted to be sure to put the word out.

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Rainer
129,065
Justin Ukaoma
Vizion KC - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate Investments

I had this happen to me about a month ago.  Very crappy situation.  It's hard to imagine that nobody in the neighborhood heard a couple thieves stealing the coils out of an AC unit.

Oct 25, 2008 08:59 AM #1
Rainmaker
287,582
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Thanks for the warning but not much can be done unless we park it outside of the house and watch the system.  Motion Detector Floods might help though, come to think of it..

Oct 25, 2008 09:00 AM #2
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Justin,  You had it happen also?  Oh no - so it's happening in different parts of the country!  I don't know how someone couldn't have heard it! I'm so sorry to hear that!

Oct 25, 2008 09:04 AM #3
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Barb, No, the unfortunate thing is that there really isn't much we can do about it! We are at the mercy of the thieves.  Flood lights might help, but a tenant would be better.  She's moving in in a couple of days!

Oct 25, 2008 09:05 AM #4
Ambassador
1,263,438
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Sorry to hear what's happening out there.   Our local fire chief visited each of the Realty offices in our town recently to inform us of fires in vacant properties for sale.  He suggested we not have the signs outside if the house is vacant until they catch who's doing it.  they have a good idea who it is and thank goodness it is not the Sellers!!!!

Desperate times create desperate people so we have to be ever so alert- more than ever!

Oct 25, 2008 09:28 AM #5
Rainmaker
300,425
Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes

That stinks. I wish these junk yard places would take more information like drivers license from these people. So maybe it would deter them more.

Oct 25, 2008 09:47 AM #6
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Susan,  Thanks for the heads up. I had only heard about a fire here or there on empty homes in disrepair.  I hadn't heard about it in vacant homes for sale.  It seems that it's always something.  I think people are deperate and I think it will get worse, before it gets better.

Oct 25, 2008 10:05 AM #7
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

I think that the junk yards places and pawn shops are starting to crack down.  I think these thieves are not taking the complete units because there are serial numbers on them.  I think thieves will always find a way to be a thief.

Oct 25, 2008 10:06 AM #8
Ambassador
3,113,707
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Sandy,The crooks just keep getting bolder and taking things we never would were at risk. When will this madness stop? Sorry about your loss and I hope you have insurance... 

Oct 25, 2008 12:46 PM #9
Rainer
172,065
Fred Chamberlin
Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA - Oak Harbor, WA
Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant

Sandy, sorry for your loss, not just the property but I am sure it makes it harder to rent also. I agree, the scrap yards have to take notice of people bringing in a/c coils. What, are they stupid?

Oct 25, 2008 05:33 PM #10
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Thanks Fred, Just one of the problems associated with owning rentals. We are hearing that empty houses are being targeted. I have a tenant moving into the property on November 1.  I don't know when or how the scrap yards are going to handle all of these coils coming in.  Maybe they don't care, either, I don't know.

Oct 26, 2008 02:14 AM #11
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Paul, I agree that the thieves are getting bolder, stealing things we would have never thought they would take before.  I don't know when the madness will end. Thanks for the feedback.

Oct 26, 2008 02:16 AM #12
Rainer
44,564
Marie Meyer
Keller Williams Realty - Central Valley, NY
Orange County New York Realtor

Hi Sandy ... That's a bummer!  Just plain mean spirited thievery ... to destroy an expensive item just to sell a piece of it as scrap.  Especially AC in Florida!  You just never know what can happen when property is advertised. 

Oct 26, 2008 02:40 AM #13
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Marie, It is a bummer.  I suppose I will have to rethink my advertising techniques on empty house in the future.  I have to make sure the sign comes down as soon as I receive a deposit.  I don't typically do that, as I don't always know if the tenant will come up with the rest of the move in money.  So I hang onto phone numbers of other callers.

Oct 26, 2008 02:43 AM #14
Rainer
85,519
Rich Mielke
REMAX Results, Frederick MD - Frederick, MD
REALTOR, Frederick Maryland Real Estate

I agree that the scrap dealers need to do more. They have to know that the scrap is coming from stolen ac units.

Oct 26, 2008 04:50 AM #15
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Rich, I wonder if the scrap yards have any precautionary measures in place to deal with this sort of thing.  I think if they don't they will have to soon enough!  I'll have to check into it!  Thanks and talk to you soon!

Oct 26, 2008 07:00 AM #16
Rainmaker
482,338
David Jirasek
Jirasek Realty - Temple, TX
ALC, CCIM

Theft of copper wiring and plumbing, along with air conditioner coils is now worse than ever in our community! I had two seperate nursing homes hit, a couple of restaurants, a couple of night clubs, a convenience store, and to add to it, assumeably the homeless burned down a house they kept breaking in to and sleeping, while the homeless shelter/soup kitchen was giving away 900 to 1,000 free Christmas lunches according the the article on the front page of the local telegram, right next to a picture of my listing burning. Passerbyer called in flames from roof at 1:45PM Christmas Day! It is now scheduled to be torn down. None of this mentions stolen lawn mowers, air compressors, engine lifts, jack hammers, etc from storage sheds to front porches!

Jan 04, 2011 10:19 PM #17
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Rainmaker
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Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast
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