Windows and doors are typically weak spots and entry points for thieves looking to break into a business. They are easy and don’t require much effort. But what about the roof?
Some crafty thieves are looking to the sky and grabbing ladders to reach their desired target – copper wire from air conditioners sitting on rooftops. This may sound extreme, but to one facility, it is a reality that they know all too well.
Over the last year, a Fresno medical facility, experienced more than $10,000 in damages from copper thefts in their rooftop air conditioning units. The multiple thefts not only left the units useless but it left the employees sweltering in the summer heat. Because of course, this happened during the hot summer months where temperatures often reach above 100 degrees in the Central Valley. The lost productivity along with the time and money needed to replace the missing equipment was more than they were willing to let happen again.
A rooftop perimeter security system designed to detect unwanted intruders on the roof that included:
- Multiple multipixel security cameras
- An infrared perimeter security system
- Lights and sirens that sound when someone hits the roof
- Ability to watch activity on the roof via a smart phone
- When the infrared beam is obstructed, the client and authorities will both be alerted
- When the infrared beam is obstructed, lights will flash and a siren will go off thus bringing additional attention to the roof
- The stolen copper from an air conditioning unit may fetch up to $200 but the damage to the unit itself can range anywhere from $5,000 and up. In most cases, the damage is around $10,000 – $12,000.
- The addition of the business security system will deter future thefts from ever happening thus allowing the system to pay for itself in a short amount of time.
- The server room within the building relies heavily on the air conditioning system to keep the equipment from overheating. Just imagine the cost of replacing the server equipment if the copper wire from the air conditioning unit was stolen on a Saturday and nobody realized it until Monday when the doors opened for business.
Copper Theft Epidemic
While the system may sound like something out of Mission Impossible, it is actually a very practical and functional system. Copper thieves typically look for areas with minimal security and little to no foot traffic which makes rooftops the perfect target.
According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, California ranks as one of the top five for states with the highest metal theft.
Some property owners have tried to put locked metal cages around their air conditioning units only to find them cut open by thieves. Remember, if they have the tools to steal your copper wire, they have the tools to break open the cage surrounding your copper wire.
Fresno’s ABC affiliate, KFSN-TV, covered the increase in copper theft and rooftop crimes in 2012 and it sure hasn’t seemed to slow down.