A crime trend involving heating and air conditioning units that recently emerged in Tumwater has found its way to Olympia, police say.
Olympia police alerted residents last week via social media that 11 HVAC units have been stolen or damaged in the area in the past three months.
Tumwater police reported that toward the end of June thieves targeted four commercial HVAC units being used by businesses. Two of the businesses were in the same area: Yamaguchi Family Dentistry and Family Chiropractic are both located off Capitol Boulevard south of Trosper Road.
Of the 11 units taken or damaged in Olympia, they included heating and cooling devices used by businesses and smaller units used by residences, Lt. Paul Lower said.
Police believe the thieves are targeting the machines for the precious metals they contain, he said.
Area metal recyclers have been notified by police about the trend; however, Lower acknowledged that it is sometimes difficult for them to distinguish between criminals and regular customers wanting to recycle scrap metal.
Still, those area metal recyclers have been asked to contact police, particularly if they see a repeat customer trying to recycle an HVAC unit, he said.
Police also believe that thieves take their precious metals to recyclers outside the county, which makes it more difficult for local police to track, Lower said.
Anyone who has been a victim of a similar crime is being asked to report it. Those with suspect information, video or damage of more than $3,000 are asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 360-704-2740.
Those with less than $3,000 damage are asked to fill out a report online at http://tcrlerms.policetocitizen.com.
This story was originally published July 25, 2022 11:25 AM.