3 AC units stolen from daycare
OAKLAND PARK, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police are searching for the crooks who allegedly stole copper from all three of a local daycare's air conditioning units, the latest in a series of burglaries targeting the essential South Florida appliance and the second such incident in the area this week.
Blue tarps now cover the affected areas on the roof of First Steps Preschool, to prevent rainwater from seeping into the building. Johnny Williams, who does maintenance for the daycare, noticed the building's interior was hot and thought a fuse had blown. When he went outside to check, he discovered all three of their AC units had been destroyed.
Williams said he is using fans to circulate the warm air to make it more bearable for teachers and students to go about their day. Following lunch at a hot cafeteria, the students shuffled into a stuffy classroom for their nap. "It's very frustrating and aggravating," said Joanna Bellamy, the daycare's director. "It's so hot [that] the kids don't want to sit down, they're agitated."
The preschool's director said she is already losing business because several parents are opting not to bring in their children. "It's sad because, suppose your child was in a daycare," said Joanna Bellamy. "Would you like that to happen to your child, to sit in a hot daycare, even though we're dealing with the fans, but would you like that for your child?"
The burglary occurred one day after a similar incident at a strip mall located a few blocks from the preschool deprived 12 businesses from the copper inside their expensive AC units. "It's making it harder for the working man to continue working," said a female employee.
The school's insurance deductible for the AC units is $10,000, an amount Bellamy said the school does not have at the moment. "I'm looking at, like, $8,000, $9,000," said Williams.
Investigators said the crimes could be related, but they will not know for sure until they make an arrest. Police said they are looking for a white, single-cab Ford Ranger with chrome rims.
If you have any information on this burglary, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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