EAST CHICAGO | A string of air conditioner thefts that occurred in the city in late March and early this month does not represent a new trend, according to East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker.
"It's reached a point where it's obviously a problem for every jurisdiction," Becker said.
He said thieves don't want the air conditioner units, but rather the materials contained within them.
"Precious metal thefts are very active throughout Northwest Indiana," Becker said.
Two of the four reported incidents of air conditioner thefts between March 26 and April 6 involved churches in the city, police said.
Two large air conditioner units were reported missing on March 26 from Friendship Baptist Church, 4756 Melville. And on March 29, an officer responded to a call regarding a damaged air conditioning unit at the Straite Gate Temple Church, 4014 Alexander St. Inner components of the unit had been stolen, police said.
On March 27 or 28, four air conditioner units were stolen from an apartment complex at 501 E. Chicago Ave., police said.
Becker said residents should be on the lookout for suspicious activity to prevent more thefts.