UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- Nearly 50 families have been a victim of a ring of air-conditioning thefts in Waco over the past six months. Now, five men are in custody for the thefts.
While police search for more suspects, victims are going the extra mile to protect their property. Local Pastor, Doug Shafer, says his church was targeted twice.
"Came driving in on a Sunday morning and turned out four of our AC units had been taken from behind the building. Yeah, it was very surprising, and it was very hot," said Shafer.
Replacing the units was a pricey $12,000. Police say the cost for home owners totals nearly $200,000.
"Somebody has got to pay for that to be replaced, and, unfortunately, it's a home owner or a business owner most of the time that's having to do that," says Waco Police Department's Sgt. Patrick Swanton.
The victims are taking action so it doesn't happen again.
People are installing locked cages to protect their air conditioning units. David Torbert works for Capstone Mechanical. They have replaced dozens of the stolen units, but even they are on the look-out.
The AC company has valuable scrap, and if they can't profit from the sales, it affects the customer.
"If we cant get that pricing, because someone has stolen it ahead of us, then definitely that gets passed on to the customer, and we loose because of that as well," says Torbert.
Police are still investigating, saying there could be more suspects involved.
They are asking you to report any suspicious activity.