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Thieves target copper from HVAC systems

June 23, 2012

An air conditioning unit is left in shambles on top of the former Walmart on Diamond Hill Road in Woonsocket after thieves made off with copper piping from the HVAC units there recently. Photo/Ernest A. Brown

WOONSOCKET – First it was the theft of copper pipe from abandoned homes, now local police are investigating the theft of copper from costly heating and air conditioning units atop local commercial properties and businesses.
The biggest case of the copper-for-salvage thefts occurred at the vacant Walmart store on Diamond Hill Road sometime prior to April 24, according to police spokeswoman, Det. Jamie Paone. The property's manager reported finding copper lines and other materials stripped from 30 HVAC units located on the roof. The store was vacated after Walmart relocated to a new superstore at Dowling Village, North Smithfield.
The thieves fled with more than $10,000 worth of scrap metals and caused more than $500,000 in damage to the ventilation equipment and roof area, Paone said.

Read Sunday's edition of The Call for complete story.

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