Latest copper theft in Chicago targets AC units at animal shelter

Vandals Destroy ACs at Animal Shelter
Large industrial fans are being used to cool off more than 100 orphan dogs and cats at the Animal Welfare League after vandals destroyed the adoption center’s main air conditioning units.

After an event Thursday night, organizers noticed the center felt hot and found the AC units damaged on the roof. One unit was completely broken, the other torn apart.

“The wires were cut and the copper piping and coils on the inside were stolen,” said AWL manager, Diane Spryka.

With the July heat, Spryka is scrambling keep the animals safe.

“It must be 80 degrees back there,” said Bridget Nolan, a volunteer at the shelter. “There is no airflow at all. It’s stagnant, hot, stressful and uncomfortable.”

Some animals exposed to 80-degree temperatures for long periods of time could suffer from severe health consequences and even death, Nolan said.

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One of the AC units can be fixed, but the estimated cost for its repair is $20,000, an unaffordable price for the shelter on a tight budget.


e need funds,” said Spryka, near tears. “It saddens me because for 35 years we’ve been here to serve the community. Now the funds we receive that could be going directly to the animals will be used elsewhere to stabilize the units.”

The damage to and theft of air conditioning units is not isolated.  There’s been a rash of damage to and thefts of central air and window units.  Police say thieves are going after the copper tubing and selling it for cash.

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