The Heat Is On

St. Louis cops are on the prowl for a ring of air-conditioner thieves.

Detective Berry says that unlicensed backyard dealers — called bootleggers in industry parlance — are taking the scheme a step further. Ive uncovered that drug dealers are starting to get into [the] recycling business in East St. Louis, he says. A user will come to them with metals, saying, Hey, Ill trade you this for a piece of crack, heroin, marijuana, whatever, but trade it for less than what the metal is valued at. The dealer then sells the metal himself, resulting in two profit streams.

Its this environment that has led Andrew Joo in Lafayette Square to protect his backyard property. He says that neighborhood witnesses have reported a group of seven or eight men who drive around in a white van looking for air conditioners. No arrests have been made.

In any case, Joo is not taking any more chances. He has encased his new air conditioner in a metal cage — and makes certain to lock up the power switch.

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