Thieves in Tennille destroy air conditioning units worth thousands all for a little copper.
"They probably get less than $50 for it and we're going to have to pay $1000 to get this unit fixed," said Brainard Crawford.
Only $50 worth of stolen copper leaves Crawford and the New Tennille AME Church down more than $1000. Their church parsonage is one of around 10 properties hit by copper thieves over the last month in Tennille.
"They're going in with some type of screw driver or something and they're taking the siding of it and something real quick going in take it apart and gut it and take those items out and they're gone in a matter of minutes," said Tennille Police Chief, Joel Cochran.
Tennille Police arrested 36-year-old Carlos Harris for the crime, but continue to search for 34-year-old Antonio Harris in connection with the thefts. Chief Cochran says Antonio and Carlos Harris are thought to be the lead suspects in most of the copper theft crimes, but the investigations are ongoing.
Many times the thieves will target radiators because they're filled with copper tubing. They will strip down the copper from the radiator and sell it alone because it's worth more apart from other metals.
A local recycling document retrieved by the Tennille Police says that copper tubing by itself is worth $2.75 a pound, .50 cents more per pound than mixed copper.
Chief Cochran says the robbers usually target empty properties, but citizens should still be aware of copper in or around their homes.
"It appeared to us that they were targeting vacant residents. They target properties that maybe have been foreclosed, properties that are currently empty, waiting for somebody to rent them. Here lately we've seen a trend where they're actually going to people's residences," said Chief Cochran.