Air conditioner theft is on the rise and in some states it is so bad that it is considered an epidemic. The theft of air conditioning units is directly due to the rapid rise of copper prices. This type of theft is certainly not targeted only to lower income areas, thieves are stealing copper coils in every demographic.
While these thieves are primarily targeting churches, not for profit buildings and other businesses, they are also targeting residential dwellings in homes and apartments. The theft of a unit can usually be done in a little less than two minutes, so early detection is the key in preventing air conditioner theft from occurring.
Air conditioning units can be broke down into two categories; Split systems and packaged units. Thieves stand to get around 10-20 lbs. of copper from a split system and 40-60 lbs of copper from a packaged system. While these thieves will only make $40-$250 from scrapping out your ac unit, it will cost THOUSANDS to replace your air conditioner.
There are a variety of options to protect against this. Metal cages can be put around the unit, but are usually $500 or more and can be a real eye sore. Alarms are also another option. You have to be careful about the alarm system you choose however. Some of them only monitor the refrigerant or can only be tapped in to an existing alarm. Alarms can be found for anywhere between $200-$500. Installation can also be pricey on those systems that require a control panel to be mounted somewhere in the home.
Shop around and make sure you research the different alarm models to find the best option.
Thanks for your time and I hope this has made you consider protecting your AC unit.