CLEARWATER — Clearwater police are investigating a rash of copper thefts and are asking for the public's help.
In the past month, 17 air conditioning units have been vandalized and police believe the thief or thieves are stealing copper and aluminum, which can be sold for a profit at metal recycling centers, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts.
All of the thefts appear to be related.
The thefts have occurred at 11 businesses, four churches, a school and a residence. In most cases, the units were located at the back of the building or in a secluded area. In two of the cases, the units were on the roofs.
The thefts were originally occurring mostly near Sunset Point Road and North Highland Avenue. More recently, the thefts have been occurring in near Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Cleveland Street.
The thefts appear to be happening at night.
Police ask anyone with information to call the Clearwater Police Tip Line at (727) 562-4080 (press 2). To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477, submit a tip online at www.crimestoppersofpinellas.org or send a text message to CRIMES (274637), type in TIP144 and the information.