CORDOVA, TN (WMC-TV ) - Memphis home designer Ralph Jones is now designing a way to better protect the next air conditioning unit that will sit in an empty spot where two others were swiped.
"We had a new one put in and they stole the same one," Jones said Monday.
The most recent theft happened over the weekend behind the Cordova building Jones owns. It takes four big units to keep the building cool.
"Part of this is that we may lose a tenant over this, and tenants are hard to find now," he said.
Jones believes it only took a matter of seconds for experienced crooks to disconnect the unit and get away.
"And that's pretty fast," he said.
The thieves were probably interested in the unit itself. They made a clean cut and left copper behind.
"Maybe they're building an addition on their house or somebody needed one," says Jones. "Or they're building a house for sale," he adds.
Jones has now provided two new units for which the thieves did not have to pay.
"With times as hard as they are, there's probably some people out there struggling to make a living, you know?" Jones said.
Jones and his staff are now struggling to keep cool with little relief from strategically-placed fans.
"The fans running are just to sort of stir it up a little bit," he said.
Jones hopes adding a fence and removing large shrubs will cool crooks on the idea of coming back to his business.
Memphis Police report more than 100 air-conditioner related thefts since the beginning of May. Residential air conditioner thefts are a big problem as well.