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More than 20 A/C units stolen in 2 nights in Oak Park

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 18:27:08-04

OAK PARK, Mich (WXYZ) — A string of air conditioning thefts in Oakland County has forced dozens of people to brave the heat, with more than 20 thefts coming from a single townhome complex.

It’s unclear what metal the thieves may be after or if it’s the units themselves but it’s a recent trend that police want to stop.

“I was sitting at the dining room table and I kept hearing noise," said Kelona Barbee, who lives at the new Coolidge Place Townhomes in Oak Park. "I was a little paranoid so I looked at the window and didn’t see anyone.”

Nearly 3 weeks ago, Barbee and her neighbors were just moving in. She says lots of Uhaul’s were coming and going, and she figured that late-night noise was just a neighbor.

“They did it at the perfect time, they knew what they were doing," Barbee said of the thieves.

However, it turns out the noise was someone stealing A/C units, cutting 11 of them in the middle of the night. Luckily for Kelona, her’s wasn’t one of them.

"I thought I was lucky, I thought I was the lucky one," Barbee said. "But I wasn’t. They came back and took more.”

4 nights later, 12 more a/c units were taken. This time, Barbee's A/C unit was one of them. Still today, the snipped-off wires are all that’s left.

“The thermostat read 94 degrees last week for a couple days,” Barbee said.

Oak Park police are investigating, but with no witnesses and no video, there are no leads.

"From time to time we’ll get a roof unit stolen, maybe even a residential unit stolen, but nothing like this before,” said Lt. Troy Taylor with the Oak Park Police Department. “This is very unusual. Especially to have this many units taken in that close a proximity of time in one particular area.”

However, there is video just down the road in Ferndale, where police are also investigating a string of air conditioning thefts. The most recent happened Tuesday, July 13.

The video shows a Uhaul truck and a man taking 2 A/C units Friday night from a townhome complex. Ferndale Police don't have any leads and do not know if the theft is connected to the thefts in Oak Park.

However, it hasn't been ruled out.

"I would venture to guess that there’s probably some connection there,” Lt. Taylor said. "So if anybody has seen anything particularly in Oak Park or any of the other cities, we definitely would be all ears.”

In the meantime, police advise getting a cage to protect outdoor A/C units. As Barbee and her neighbors brave the heat, waiting for a replacement.

“It's miserable," Barbee said. "I think I'm going back to my mom's house tonight.”