Vacant Factory Needed A/C CagesNovember 3, 2010
Sheriff’s investigators have several leads in the vandalism and thefts from 17 rooftop air conditioning units at the former Macclenny Products building in the south city sometime between mid- and late-September. The initial estimate of damage was placed at $236,000.
Police were notified of the crime, which consists mainly of gutting the units of compressors and large copper radiators that bring cash at scrap yards, on September 29 when a property manager discovered large openings in the roof where the units were once positioned.
The manager, Russell Holder of Middleburg, was doing a walk-through of the premises with a security company that morning, according to the initial report by Deputy Johnny Bryan. He said the units were intact when he did a similar inspection two weeks earlier.
When officers mounted the roof, which is three stories above ground level, they found that screens and metal sides of the units had been removed and the component parts ripped out.
Based on tire tracks, footprints and other metal fragments, it appears the radiators and coils were tossed off the roof onto the ground in a recessed area on the south inside corner of the building.
Macclenny Products was originally constructed in 1980 as a GE power panel plant, then purchased along with adjoining acreage several years later by Macclenny Products, where it was a garment sewing factory.
Macclenny Products closed up shop in 2007, and the property has been on the market ever since. The interior is vacant and equipped with an alarm system that was not triggered by activity on the roof.
Chief sheriff’s investigator Chuck Brannan said there are some clues emerging — most notably a description of a Jeep vehicle seen in the area with a ladder large enough to extend to the roof. Scrap parts believed from the roof turned up at a yard in Columbia County recently, and police obtained a photograph of several persons who redeemed them for cash.
Maj. Brannan said the suspects are thought to be from the Jacksonville area.
“What they took out of those units pretty much renders them useless, which is why they valued them at replacement cost,” explained the investigator.
Police also theorize the looting took place over a number of days, and likely the suspects were dropped off and picked up by a vehicle that either towed a trailer or was left there while the units were vandalized.
The Baker County Press 2010This entry was posted in Air Conditioner Cage and tagged ac cage, air conditioner security, theft prevention. Bookmark the permalink. ← Habitat for Humanity using Property Armor for A/C Cages A/C Cages- Is The Copper Theft Frenzy Over? Not So Fast! →