Church among 12 properties targeted in AC unit thefts

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Police are trying to identify whoever has stolen several air conditioning units in the Tampa Bay area.

They're not taking just the copper or the parts, they're getting away with the entire unit.

So far, 13 have been stolen from 12 properties. Four have been vacant homes, but eight others are feeling the heat.

"It's unbearable," First Mount Pilgrim Evangelical Baptist Church Pastor Darrel Davis said. "It doesn't make any sense for them to just go out and take it."

Two weeks ago after bible study, Pastor Davis and his wife noticed it was a bit warm inside the church.

When they walked outside, they realized why.

"We looked out to the back, and it was gone," he said.

Thieves cut the pipes and the electrical wiring, and then left the slab empty.

Inside the church - even with two window AC units and box fans running around the clock - the temperature is hovering at a warm 90 degrees.

"If they wanted the air conditioning that bad, we probably would have gave it to them," Pastor Davis said.

Weighing about 120 pounds, police say, it's likely a two-person job, and they'd have to use a truck or van to haul them off.

"The detective says they're either trying to install them as used units, or they might be just picking them apart and taking the pieces apart," St. Petersburg Police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said. "It seems like these thieves purposefully picked places close to alleys and backways where they could get away without anyone seeing them."

Police estimate each AC unit cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

Pastor Davis doesn't have that amount of money.

"We don't have any animosity or ill-will toward them or anything," he said. "We just hope and pray that they return the unit or tell us where it is."