Two charged with stealing heating, cooling units from rooftops

Two men have been arrested in Colonie and charged with making off with rooftop heating and cooling u

Two men have been arrested in Colonie and charged with making off with rooftop heating and cooling units from Colonie businesses.

They were arrested Wednesday night while one of them was on the roof of a business, allegedly in the process of swiping another unit. The pair was scrapping the units for copper contained inside them, police said.

Charged with multiple felonies were Adrian D. Day, 35, of 10 Andree Court, Colonie, and Gregory Eliason, 48, of 68 Hunting Road, Albany. The two were arrested at 24 Computer Drive West after police were alerted to a suspicious vehicle and suspicious individuals. The workers who called police knew about thefts earlier from 11 Computer Drive West.

Colonie police said they found the suspect car with Day inside. They also spotted a ladder to the roof of 24 Computer Drive West; Eliason was on the roof, police said.

The units themselves cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace, police said. Damage to two businesses was expected to total more than $50,000.

The thieves broke down the units, extracted copper and sold it for a few hundred dollars, police said. They are believed to have used saws or unbolted the units to get them off the roofs.

“All they wanted was the small amount of copper, but they damaged big, expensive commercial units,” Lt. Robert Winn of the Colonie Police Department said. “The damage they were doing was disproportionate to the amount of money they were getting in return.”

Police have been investigating three other similar incidents in the town since March 15. No charges have been filed in those.

Those incidents, at Target, 1440 Central Ave.; Buy Buy Baby, 1440 Central Ave.; and Marshalls, 873 Loudon Road, resulted in total damage and replacement costs exceeding $100,000.

The method of copper theft is something police there haven’t seen before, Winn said. Some businesses have security systems that extend to their roofs. These did not.

“It’s a new one on us,” Winn said. “When it was first reported in mid-March, we were trying to figure out how they were being perpetrated. In reality, they weren’t going there late at night.”

Wednesday’s arrests came just after 8 p.m.

Winn also suggested that if the men were seen by others, they may have appeared like they belonged there.

In the thefts from earlier Wednesday, the men were confronted by workers and responded that they weren’t with the business, arousing further suspicion. It was the description from that incident that helped result in the arrests later.

Winn said police are wondering if they’ll get more reports of missing AC or heating units as businesses start to turn on their air conditioning with the warmer weather and find the systems not working.

Day and Eliason were charged with third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree attempted grand larceny, all felonies. They also face misdemeanor counts of possession of burglar tools and two counts of third-degree criminal trespass.

The men were arraigned and ordered held for future court appearances.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply