To curtail the copper capers and visits from the midnight plumbers, Jim Evans has taken his most vulnerable air conditioners into protective custody.
Thieves have gutted compressors and stolen pipes so persistently from the homes Evans manages with Fountain City Realty in Columbus that he has changed the way he does business. He invariably replaces plundered plumbing with less lucrative PVC piping. And when a property in a high-crime area becomes vacant, he pays maintenance to disconnect the air conditioner and place it in storage.
“It’s a foregone conclusion that if that thing stays there for more than a couple of days, it will be stripped,” said Evans, adding his company spent more than $100,000 over the past year on repairs to theft-related damage. “I’ve been in this business a long time -- 30 years -- and I have never seen anything like we’re witnessing now.”
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