A/C Unit

It’s not every day you come home to find your entire backyard air conditioning unit gone. But that’s exactly what happened to five households in Canton and other neighborhoods in Southeast Baltimore late last month.

WBAL first reported the string of thefts. Incident reports provided by the Baltimore Police Department suggest a thief or several thieves carried out the ambitious thefts with cutting tools. In at least one case, the responding officer found a unit was removed with just a screwdriver.

One of the victims who spoke with WBAL, Kara Cartwright, was among the earliest cases. She was shocked to step out into her backyard in Canton and find her AC compressor gone, an experience she described as “unsettling.” An HVAC specialist called to her home determined it was a “clean job,” with wires connecting to the unit cut straight through, she said.

Theft of an A/C compressor or whole unit isn’t unheard of, but it’s not the most common type of larceny. In Canton in particular, one of the city’s safer neighborhoods, such events are uncommon.

Thieves have been known to take them for the metal that they can sell off as scrap. The values of the appliances stolen in these cases ranged from in the thousands.

Police are looking into the string of thefts. “This is certainly something that we’re investigating,” said Det. Jeremy Silbert. He said they need the community’s help and are asking anyone who noticed anything suspicious happening around the times of the thefts between Oct. 24-31 to call police.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...