A/C Theft may be Linked to Copper Cases

The rash of copper thefts and vandalism of air conditioning units that have plagued the county throughout the long hot summer appear to have subsided somewhat in recent weeks, but an incident earlier this month has Fairfield County Sheriff’s investigators wondering if the ‘copper kleptos’ are back at work.

A local realtor selling a home at 1085 Newberry Road in Winnsboro came by to inspect the property just before 1 p.m. Sept. 6. Although he had been at the property the night before and found everything to be normal, on Sept. 6 he arrived to discover the Westinghouse air conditioning unit, worth $1,000, had been stolen from outside the home.

Investigators at the scene found that the unit had been carefully disconnected and dragged through the yard. Where the drag marks ended, investigators found a set of tire tracks and evidence that the unit had been loaded into a vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office said this case differs considerably from the rash of copper thefts that primarily targeted churches over the last few months. In those cases, the Sheriff’s Office said, the air conditioning units were dismantled on site, leaving behind thousands of dollars in damage in exchange for a few dollars’ worth of recyclable copper components. In this case, however, the entire unit was hauled away, as if someone intended to employ it for their own uses.

One key piece of evidence, on the other hand, was found at the Newberry Road scene linking it to previous cases. Investigators were able to lift a shoe print from the dirt near where the unit had been connected at the Newberry Road home and matched it to a print found in the ground at one of this summer’s church larcenies.