Copper Thieves Leave $30K in Damage at Montgomery Grocery Store


By Jessica Gertler

Copper wire was stolen from air conditioning units outside a South Montgomery grocery store. The thieves left $30,000 in damages, and the owner says they'll only make $200 off the wire.

The evidence lies behind Mohamed Rana's store off South Court Street. Less than a month after he opened Red Bear Meat and Grocery Number 4, Rana has been hit by thieves.

Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, copper wire was stolen from the air conditioning units behind the store.

They are hooked up to the coolers.

"One was produce and meat," Rana says.

Not only did Rana have to throw away the food inside the coolers, he says he'll have to replace the units. The total cost of damage: $30,000. Rana is not sure if insurance will cover it, because it happened outside the building.

Service technician, Kevin Chase, says incidents like this are becoming too common.

"I see a lot of copper thefts at churches, copper thefts behind businesses, behind grocery stores, in vacant houses," says Chase.

No arrests have been made. Montgomery Police are following up on leads.

"Usually the thieves try to scrap the metal at various scrap yards and that's what we key in on," says Lt. LZ Dean with Montgomery Police.

Rana says with a family to provide for, he is worried he will have to pay for the $30,000 in damages. All for the $200 the thieves may get at a scrap yard.

"This is a neighborhood store. People want this store here. Unfortunately, it happens. I hope I'm going to be able to handle it," he says.

How do you prevent something like this from happening? Make sure your AC unit is protected by calling a licensed service technician.

The store only has security cameras inside the store. The thieves never went inside. The owner says he is installing cameras in the back. 


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