Posted 5:31 PM 6/6/2012 : Cathedral working on security after crime leaves them without AC units
TUCSON - Authorities at St. Agustine's Cathedral are on high alert and adding new security measures after copper thieves ripped off several air conditioning units over the weekend.
The cables were cut, and 300 pound units were taken from this building on South 6th Avenue where St. Agustine Cathedral has religious classes. "For someone to come in and to do that is just mind boggling to me," said Liz Aguallo, a parishioner.
John Shaheen, director of the Diocese's property and insurance office said six of the 10 units were taken during the weekend.
"When the maintenance supervisor came here to check out why the AC units weren't running, he had realized that someone had actually stolen them," said Shaheen.
It will cost up to $40,000 to replace them, and to keep this from happening to the remaining four units, the Diocese is looking into preventative measures."We probably will have cages around the units and hopefully that will make the thieves move on to somewhere else," said Shaheen.
Robert Preston from Riteway Air Conditioning said thieves rely heavily on the safety switch to prevent getting electrocuted when they cut the wires. "If they don't shut the power off to unit first, they can potentially kill themselves," said Preston.
Once they shut off the valve, they can get to what they're really after.
"In here is one of the coils that they usually steal these units for," said Preston. "This has passes of copper with aluminum fins which gives them a higher price when they go to recycle it."
Preston said thieves could get about 300 dollars for this coil, and there's plenty of copper in the wiring as well.
Shaheen is appealing to local scrap metal dealers to notify them if they can see anyone trying to sell multiple identical parts from the air conditioners. The air conditioners are Bryant 10-SEER Condensing Units.
Anyone with information can contact John Shaheen at the Diocese of Tucson at 520-792-3410.
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