Security cameras capture copper theft at Boys & Girls Club

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INDIANAPOLIS – A security camera outside the Wheeler-Dowe Boys & Girls Club captured images of a person stealing copper.

The crime happened around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 12. Video shows air conditioning copper coils thrown from the roof to the ground; a person is then seen removing the pieces. According to investigators with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the thief ripped apart two of the large HVAC units on the roof.

It’s unclear if the individual acted alone or if a second person helped. The theft happened just hours before the club was opening for its fall session.

“It’s a real inconvenience to the club and it’s a real inconvenience to the children and it’s money now that we have to spend to protect our equipment that could be going to programs for our kids,” said Rick Whitten, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis.

He said their insurance will help cover the cost of the damage, which came out at more than $40,000. The air conditioning units have not been fixed because new equipment had to be ordered. While the club has smaller units on the roof, fans inside the building have been turned on to keep the facility cool.

“We’ve been a fixture here since 1970 and it hurts the kids and that’s the saddest part,” Whitten said.

Whitten said the organization plans to invest in cages to protect all of its air conditioning units.

Lt. Christopher Bailey with IMPD said copper thefts can happen anytime and anywhere. Those types of crimes increase, Bailey said, when copper prices go up.

“You know, the Boys & Girls Club does a tremendous amount of volunteer work for our community and it’s sad that this happened to them—especially for the amount of copper you would get from an air conditioning unit,” Bailey said.

If anyone has information about this case, they need to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.