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2 nonprofits lose air conditioning after thieves steal copper

By Jennifer Hoff, jhoff@wisctv.com
Published On: Jun 19 2013 10:09:17 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Copper-stealing thieves disabled air conditioners at two area nonprofits. And they’re timing couldn’t be worse.

The temperature is about to soar and could hit 91 degrees this weekend, so the rush is on to start repairs at the Salvation Army and the River Food Pantry.

Both organizations suspect they were targeted the weekend of June 6. It’s the second time in two years the Salvation Army has been hit. Despite having a fence, the thieves stole about 45 feet of copper. Security Director Larry Peterson thinks that it was worth about $100, but will cost the Salvation Army thousands of dollars in repairs.

“When someone does something like this, they’re not just affecting one or two people, they’re affecting the whole neighborhood,” said Peterson.

About 50 kids start day camp at the Salvation Army Monday, but the units won’t be repaired until the end of next week. They’ll move the kindergarten through fifth-graders to parts of the building that still have AC.

The heat will hurt Jenny and Andy Czerkas, too. The pair own the River Food Pantry that serves 600 people a week.

Thieves copped their copper two weeks ago. They’re concerned the room temperature isn’t safe for food storage. Repairmen started work Wednesday and should be finished within a day or two.

Andy is taking precautions by putting the new units on the roof. It will cost about $3,500 after insurance.

“We just don’t have pots of money to pull from every time something like this happens,” said Jenny.

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