AC unit thefts on the rise in Charles County

It’s a scene like this one that grates on Charles County Sheriff, Rex Coffee.

“It’s frustrating to see people do damage, thousands of dollars in damage,” he said.

So far this year, Charles County has seen about 100 thefts targeting copper wiring in homes, and lately, air conditioning units. The thieves typically go after unoccupied homes, but they’ve also targeted churches.

A bank-owned house in Port Tobacco had its AC unit ripped apart, the copper wiring taken, and the fuel oil in the tank stolen.

“A lot of these people who are doing this, these dirt bags, have a drug problem. You know the oxycodone thing, it's a problem we'd like to put a stop to,” explained Rex.

The sheriff is asking residents to keep an eye out. Josh Simmons had no idea a home just a few doors away had been hit. It is currently for sale and unoccupied, and had both of its air conditioners stolen – literally ripped off the house.

“You can't sit outside your house and keep watch day and night,” said Josh. “You do the best you can do, keep an eye out, and it takes a lot from your neighborhood – everybody has to watch out for everybody.”