A/C window unit thefts on rise

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Gloria Toran owns several rental properties in Lufkin, most of them cooled by window A/C units. Now her tenants will have to sweat it out because someone made off with them. "Probably over 8 or 9 is a good estimate," said Toran.

The empty window used to hold a heating and cooling window unit, along with the one in the back of the rental property. They have both been stolen and Toran said that is just another $1,000 down the drain. "At my office I got one stolen last year, and to my understanding it was put in there pretty securely," said Toran.

She thinks they could have been stolen to make some quick cash. "One time I was fortunate enough to find out who stole it, hunt them down and they led me to a pawn shop," said Toran.

However,  Lufkin police think somebody is ripping out her window units to stay cool. "Every year during May and June we see a spike in A/C unit thefts," said Lt. David Young, Lufkin Police Department spokesperson.

There is no such thing as a burglar-proof A/C unit, but there are ways to make it more difficult for crooks. "There are brackets that are sold that will actually bolt to the outside of the home that will prevent taking the window unit out from outside," said Lt. Young.

Toran's already installed those brackets on some of her units, but it may become standard practice. She said she can't afford to keep losing air conditioners. "I'll have to," said Toran. "People can't live without it, so I'll just have to jump in and do it again."

Toran is working with policce to catch the thief who she thinks could be a former tenant. She is considering switching her rental properties to a more expensive, but harder to steal, central heat and air units.