Thieves made the hot weather even more unbearable for a Johnston County daycare and a church this week.
Employees at the Childcare Network at 2029 Winston Road, Clayton arrived at work Wednesday morning and discovered the inside of the building was unusually hot. They checked the thermostat and it wasn’t working. When they checked outside they discovered four HVAC units had been stolen.
A short time later, a member arrived at the Mt. Pleasant Advent Christian Church, located at 3171 Highway 42 West and noticed the air conditioning system wasn’t working. They found two 5-ton units had been stolen.
The value of the six stolen units was estimated at $32,000.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating both thefts and hasn’t ruled out they are connected.
Rash Of Thefts In 2015
Last year there was a rash of AC thefts from churches in Johnston County.
In July 2015, four HVAC units were stolen from the Iglesia Biblica Bautisa church at 6963 Highway 50 North, Benson. That same week, two AC units were stolen from the Baptist Center Church at 2163 Ranch Road, Clayton.
One church was struck twice last year. In August, five HVAC units valued at $42,000 were stolen from the Baptist Tabernacle Church on Highway 231. The next month, three additional units were damaged or stolen resulting in a $12,000 loss. The church installed steel posts, gates and lights after the first theft but it didn’t stop thieves from returning a second time.
In October, three HVAC units were stolen from Fellowship Baptist Church at 3750 US Highway 301, Selma. Those units were valued at $12,000.
HVAC units are commonly targeted by criminals because of the copper they contain, which can easily be resold to a recycling facility. Scrap metal dealers say it is virtually impossible to tell if copper has been stolen because the metal does not have any serial numbers.