BEAUFORT, SC (May 2, 2012/2:30 PM) – The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a rash of air conditioning unit thefts occurring throughout Northern Beaufort County over the last two months.
Since March 1st, 2012, the Sheriff’s Office has received more than two dozen reports of air conditioning units that have been damaged or stolen from vacant properties on Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island, and Seabrook. These units are targeted for the copper they contain, which thieves are able to quickly strip from the units and sell for scrap.
Increasing values of non-ferrous metals, precious metals, and other raw materials has fueled the secondhand scraping market, inciting spikes in the thefts of items such as catalytic converters, manhole covers, copper wiring, and stainless steel.
The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens that any person wishing to transport and sell any nonferrous metals, including copper and catalytic converters, to a scrap metal dealer must first obtain a permit to transport and sell from the sheriff’s office in the county where the seller resides. Motorists stopped while transporting these materials must be able to provide a copy of this permit.
Citizens are also asked to be on the lookout for and report suspicious activity, such as a vehicle transporting multiple A/C units or scrap metals, or persons seen tampering with and/or removing an A/C unit. Property owners are encouraged to regularly check vacant properties.
Anyone with information regarding recent thefts is asked to contact either Investigator MSgt. J. Purdy at 843-255-3403 or SSgt. J. Fraser at 843-255-3416.