East Texans are asked to be on the lookout around their homes, after a string of copper thefts. The Smith County Sheriff's Department says thieves are stealing anything with copper in them, including air conditioning units, and selling the metal for $3.00 a pound. On Tuesday, deputies caught two suspected thieves in the act. Robert Bolden, 28 and his brother 20-year-old Derawlyn Bolden are each charged with two counts of felony theft. The two were spotted by a teenager who says she was not going to let anyone take off with her family's air conditioner.
Kerry Hewett, 18 was at home with her sister Tuesday, when she heard a knock on the front door.
"I looked through the peep hole and my sister had heard it to and she said don't answer that because we didn't recognize who it was, and I was like I'm not going to answer it," said Kerry Hewett. When she looked out the window, Kerry says she saw a blue truck in her driveway.
"I thought it was trash cans in the back, and I said ok, maybe it's the trash people," said Kerry. The trash was actually several air condition units and some copper coils. The suspects, not thinking anyone was home, drove around back.
"We heard a huge boom, and she heard air and she (Kerry's sister) was like they are stealing our air conditioner." Without hesitation, Kerry says she ran outside to stop them.
"In my head I was just mad you know," said Kerry. "I was like what do they want an air conditioner for." When the two men saw her, Kerry says they took off. Her family's air condition unit rolled out the back of the truck. With Kerry's description of the truck, the Smith County Sheriff's Department says it was able to find both the men and the stolen air conditioners.
"We believe they are tearing them up and selling the pieces just as scrap, copper the aluminum, whatever," said Lieutenant Larry Wiginton, Smith County Sheriff's Department. "The copper tubing is inside the coils. There's quite a bit of copper inside an air conditioner." Kerry and her family rent the house. Fortunately, the homeowner has put a new air condition unit in for them.
"Tuesday night we had stayed in a hotel because it was too hot," said Kerry. "It's too hot to be taking them." The Smith County Sheriff's Department asks people to be aware of suspicious people. Also, write down your air conditioner's serial number. That way if it's stolen and later found, it can be returned to you.