Thieves stole an entire heating/air conditioning unit May 3 from a living history museum in Liberty County.
Florence Roberts, operations manager of Seabrook Village Museum, said she was shocked when she noticed the crime.
“My heart dropped, it was so shocking. I just burst out in tears,” Roberts said. “I came in and came up the ramp … It was the first thing I looked at and it was gone. They had to use a truck to pull up right there and get that unit.”
Roberts said she has heard reports of such thefts from churches, businesses and houses for years.
“I don’t what they are doing with the units, but the police said they are breaking them down taking out the copper and metal and stuff like that to sell,” Roberts said.
“We do feel the reason for the theft is the copper,” Liberty County Chief Deputy Keith Moran said, adding that the department has been dealing with the problem for quite some time.
“The investigation is continuing and we are trying to establish the serial numbers and check with the scrap metal yards and follow all the leads we get,” Moran said.
“The police told me it was going to be OK, but they just don’t understand what a hard time we are going through here just to survive and then someone comes and steals from us,” Roberts said.
Roberts said a new A/C unit would likely cost around $4,500.
“We are in dire need … not just for the A/C … We are in dire need for everything out here,” she said. “We need volunteers and so many odds and ends we don’t have funding for. Seabrook Village is a non-profit organization and I’m sure they knew that before they came here and stole the unit.
“People like that — that don’t want to work for what they want. That A/C is not going to help them in the place that they are going to go to when they leave here. An A/C will not keep them cool in hell.”
Moran said deputies have been told to increase patrols in the area. He encouraged residents to call about anything suspicious in the area.
Moran said this type of theft is a crime of opportunity and hard to track down.
“For a long time we were having problems within the new construction areas,” he said. “And now they have switched over to taking outside A/C units in different locations… There is no pattern.”
Anyone wishing to help can call Roberts at 884-7008. Anyone with information on the crime should call 876-4555 or report it anonymously at the LCSO’s website, www.libertyso.com.