Two air conditioners, stolen over the weekend from Willoughby Marks American Legion Post 106 in Apalachicola, were uninsured, and will cost at least $5,500 for the post to replace.
On Sunday, Deputy Ronald Jones of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to 108 West US 98 after Pat Hale, wife of Post Adjutant Larry Hale, discovered the air conditioners were missing.
Larry Hale said the thieves smashed the terminal breaker boxes to cut the current to the equipment before cutting the power lines and loading the units into a truck.
He estimated the cost of repairing the breaker boxes and replacing the two six-ton external compressors would be $5,500, so, if apprehended, thieves would be charged with grand theft. He is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.
Chief Craig Kincaid of the Carrabelle Police Department said thefts of this type are not uncommon. He said units are frequently looted from vacant houses and businesses. Thieves remove the outer cover and sell the internal core for scrap value of about $60. Kincaid said the covers are often dumped in the woods.
He said that although nearby recycling businesses ask for identification, and photograph or fingerprint persons selling suspicious materials, “scrap looks like scrap.”
Police have been unable to find a witness to the theft, which occurred sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.
“I’m glad they didn’t get electrocuted,” said Larry Hale. “They’d probably sue us.”
Post Commander Al Mirabella said there would be a meeting of Post 106 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 24. Members are invited to bring a covered dish. Selection of new officers and replacement of the air conditioners will be discussed.