july 29, 2011 –
MAYETTA (July 29): The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation will offer a $5,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in the thefts of air conditioners that have been occurring at churches, vacant houses and other buildings on the reservation. Please contact the Tribal Police Department at 785.966.3024 with the information.
Thefts have been occurring since May and the Tribal Police Department is asking the public to keep an eye out for any suspicious persons or vehicles that may be in the area. Churches seem to be especially vulnerable since some have been hit more than once and police are asking the community to step in and help. The PBPN reservation is located in Jackson County.
Thieves apparently are looking for the copper coils found in air conditioning compressors in order to sell them for scrap metal. The crimes have been occurring with frequency at the local and national level and in other rural and urban areas.
Reasons given for the high incidence of the thefts are that it is hard to positively identify thieves that often hit buildings that are not occupied like schools and churches, for example, and that it is easy to sell scrap metal that has also increased in price the last few years. Another reason is that the economy has taken a downturn in recent years.