MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A string of thefts in local neighborhoods has homeowners and realtors on the lookout after someone stole items worth thousands of dollars in broad daylight: air conditioning units.
AC units sit unprotected right outside most homes. Some homeowners say people are driving through neighborhoods, backing trucks right up to the AC unit and stealing them in plain sight.
Each home has one thing in common: For Sale signs in the front yard.
"Thieves are targeting homes for sale that they think are vacant and taking the unit right off the pads," said Bradley Parker with Sloan Realty.
Parker received a call from a homeowner to alert him the unit was missing outside of his property. While driving through the neighborhood, they realized another home had been hit, also with a sign out front.
"It has happened four or five times in the area surrounding 544 and Carolina Forest," he warned.
In each case, another AC unit stands just yards away from the stolen one, which is why Bradley Parker believes thieves are targeting homes with the For Sale signs.
"An AC unit on the side of the house is a big item, it is very noticeable if someone pulls up next to a house and tries to take it," he said.
He has sent out an e-mail blast to other realtors in the area and urges the public to keep an eye out.
"Be aware of your surroundings, make calls if you see someone in the area, write down a license plate. We just need one person to spot these people and get them behind bars,"Parker said.
An AC unit can cost up to $5,000 to replace. One homeowner called a local scrap yard to check if any unit has been turned in recently. He was told they only pay out about $30 for the costly unit.