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Pregnant woman helps steal commercial air-conditioning unit

May 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A couple, including a pregnant woman, gets away with a huge air-conditioner and it was caught on surveillance tape. It's the latest in a string of similar thefts in the Inland Empire. They struggled with the machine for several minutes, but still got away.

It was 5:30 a.m. Thursday when surveillance cameras outside of a Riverside building captured a man stealing a huge air-conditioning unit. The man cuts the wiring and copper pipes securing the unit, which was located on the side of the building on the 6800 block of Indiana Avenue. Freon spews from the exposed pipes.

The suspect then attempts to carry it and shove it into his getaway car but it will not fit. He then struggles to put it in the trunk of the car. A pregnant woman gets out of the passenger side of the vehicle to help him.

With the trunk open and the bulky air-conditioning unit visible they speed off.

The surveillance video shows it took the suspects about 11 minutes to steal the unit and flee the scene.

The manager of the building, which houses several businesses, says the owner of the building is outraged one of his $3,500 air-conditioning units was stolen.

"We want to catch this guy. The owner is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest of these two suspects," said building manager Yevette Maurer.

Riverside police detectives say theft of air-conditioning units is big business.

"The air-conditioning part is pretty common because they have parts that are useful. There's a lot of scrapping that can be done. It might actually be intended to just take it apart and sell it for scrap," said Riverside Police Lt. Leon Phillips.

Similar crimes have also been reported recently in Chino.

Anyone with information related to the case should contact Riverside Police at (951) 787-7911.

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