Is it *really* that rewarding to be stealing residential air conditioners?

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http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/07/05/thieves-in-chatham-targeting-air-conditioners /
How many AC units are using copper instead of aluminum these days?
And now people are putting cages around them?
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Yeah, it's amazing the amount of hard work some people will put into theft that amounts to less than minimum wage...
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On 7/6/2011 8:29 PM, Home Guy wrote:

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/07/05/thieves-in-chatham-targeting-air-conditioners /
Some really brazen critters came over the fence at my friend's place where he stored some used units we removed from service and he caught them on their last expedition onto his property. He isn't sure if his gunfire got one of them in the backside as they went over the fence but they haven't been back. ^_^
TDD
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I don't see how. I save scrap that I generate and I kept my old carrier unit and inside coil. It didn't amount to much when I took it to the scrap yard. The inside coil counted as mixed copper because of the steel frame so the price per pound was far less. The aluminum outside parts was only worth a couple bucks. They would not take the actual compressor in my pile of scrap iron/steel. I think I got like $12 dollars total that day and I mostly made the run because I had a cracked bare chevy 350 block I really needed to get rid of. I mostly save scrap as a way to be more environmentatlly responsible than for the money anyway.
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I was wondering what these thieves do with the units they steal too. There was a foreclosure house here in a nearby town that a friend was looking at buying. When we saw it the house was still occupied and in perfect condition. Stopped maybe 5 months later and it's a wreck. Inside, the flooring is gone, all the kitchen cabinets, countertops, etc. Outside both AC units were gone. The owner was a doctor.
I was puzzled as to who did the stripping. Like would a Dr. sit there and pull up flooring? And if so, what could he do with it? Even if you sold it on Craigslist, would not seem to be worth the effort. And for street thieves, it's hard to imagine they would want to be in a house long enough to rip all that stuff out.....
And then with the ACs, I wondered if they could sell them on CL? Who would buy unknown eqpt that could be contaminated, burnt up, etc and if they did how much would they pay for it? And scrap price isn't that much is it? Doesn't make a lot sense to me.
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On 7/7/2011 8:24 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

We had an article in the local paper that said the latest thing to steal and scrap for metal is...cars. A couple ran out of gas on the freeway and had to abandon the car. When they went back to retrieve it a few hours later, it was gone. The following day they learned that a tow truck driver picked it up and sold it to a scrap yard for $500 bucks and it was already destroyed. Turns out car thieves have been selling stolen vehicles to the same scrap yard without titles. The yard pays them, crushes the car, and the lawful owners are SOL.
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On 7/7/2011 9:42 AM, Bob F wrote:

This yard doesn't concern itself with that. It says that requiring them to collect proof of ownership from the sellers is over-regulation, and bad for business. Yeah, when you're shady, I can see how that would be bad for your business.
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What is the state law? In Indiana they have to have valid title of some sort to crush a car legally. Also, I would think their rather lax standards would lead them open to charges of receiving stolen property and one heck of a class action suit for damages.
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On 7/7/2011 12:34 PM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

Not sure if it is in effect yet, but in MI, they were trying to make scrap yards operate basically like pawnshops- no purchases from walk-ins without ID and a logbook, and a description of the material. Not to mention a 'who are you kidding, dumbass?' educational program for yard workers and potential sellers, showing examples of the most common kinds of stolen scrap that anyone with common sense would know are probably hot. (manhole covers, new cable on reels, unused plumbing parts, etc.) The local yards have been put on notice by cops and DA- if they buy obvious stuff without doing due diligence, they will be prosecuted as well, just to make an example of them.
--
aem sends...

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In Brooklyn someone recently stole a bunch of antique wrought iron gates on a couple blocks:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/44/dtg_gatethefts_2010_10_29_bk.html
Don. www.donwiss.com (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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re: "one heck of a class action suit for damages."
How would that happen?
To have a class action suit, you need a class.
From lawyers.com:
Numbers. There have to be so many possible plaintiffs and lawsuits against a defendant that it's not practical for them to file their own suits. Often, possible plaintiffs number in the hundreds or thousands.
In order for a Class Action suit to be filed against the scrap yard, there would have to be at least hundreds of rightful owners of the cars that knew that their cars had been taken to this scrap yard after being stolen.
If the cars were being crushed soon after receipt, then will have essentially "disappeared", never to be found and the owner would never know who to sue.
Then there is the question of who is the rightful owner. If there was a lien against the car (a car loan) who would be the plaintiff?
If the insurance company paid the individual owner after the car was stolen, then the insurance company would own the car should it ever be found. Assuming many of the stolen cars were insured (and now owned) by the limited number of insurance companies in the market, the pool of plantiffs just got much smaller.
Any of the above factors makes the possibility of a class action suit pretty small.
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Where is around here?
Don. www.donwiss.com (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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We had a power failure here a few years ago. A tree fell across the lines. It lasted for a good 4 hours because by the time the power company arrived to fix it, which was within half an hour, a quarter mile of wire had "walked away". They didnt have enough wire on the truck to replace that which had gone missing so they had to send for more from a far away depot.
It just amazed me that thieves could strip wire from the poles so fast.
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On 7/7/2011 8:49 AM, Hell Toupee wrote:

Here in SE Iowa cars WITH TITLE are selling for approximately $205.00/ton at the scrap yards. They will not take them without a title.
Don
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...and doing FAR more damage to the "good used car supply" than cash for clunkers ever did...
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Kudos for not being a bone-head full-quoter like IGot2P was.

I would think that a "good used car" is worth more than $205 a ton.
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wrote:

You do see a lotof stuff on craig's listthat could come from a stripped house.
Maybe noi surprisingly most neighbors will ignore a van or truck parked at a house in the middle of changing hands or in forclosure. They just assume it's some service guys. Pleny of time to strip and remove the kitchen cabinets. Two guys could remove a complete set of kitchen cabinets in about 30 minutes. I could pull an outside compresor in 15 minues tops. And that's pumping it down. 5 minutes if you don't care about the charge or the power is off.
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http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/07/05/thieves-in-chatham-targeting-air-conditioners /
Read the article, the thieves get $25.
Must take 2 or 3 guys to carry and at least an hour per unit.
Doesn't make much sense.
--
Dan Espen

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On 07/07/2011 10:26 AM, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

They must be selling them as used A/C compressors, not as scrap, regardless of what the article says.
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On Fri, 08 Jul 2011 08:21:21 -0500, Matt

They sell the copper at 75 cents a pound and a couple guys can steal a condenser in about 2 minutes. They just cut the lines and roll it away on a hand truck. It takes more like 4-5 minutes to strip the copper using battery tools.
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