ALTON (KMOV.com) - Air conditioning units are being stolen in Alton at an increasing rate.
Police say the number of stolen units has skyrocketed this year. In 2010, Alton Police say only 11 units were stolen; this year however, 90 have been already been taken. Authorities say eight were stolen from an apartment complex last week. Those units are believed to be worth $5,000-$6,000.
Police say thieves are striking in broad daylight. The Alton Police Chief is asking the public for help.
"If you have any suspicion whatsoever and see somebody working on an air conditioning outdoors in the winter that should be a red flag that there's something amiss and call us," David Hayes said. "Part of the problem is these thieves look like they belong there, they look like maintenance people. They do that intentionally because they try to fit into the neighborhood and nobody will pay attention to them."
Hayes said there are a couple of reasons the thefts are on the rise. Hayes says the price of scrap metal is up, and he believes the heroin epidemic is also leading to more thefts.