Two men are in custody after an undercover sting operation by Conyers police. Police said when they searched the two suspects' Henry County home, they found accounting ledgers of the thefts, air conditioner parts and three weapons.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Tony Thomas spoke with victims and police about the large scale ring.
Conyers building owner Kip Stewart showed Thomas the empty spots where her air conditioners used to sit. The cut wires are all that remain.
"They actually just take up the whole unit. It actually takes only a few seconds to lift and load," said Stewart.
Damond Cox and Detrick Henry are now in custody. One man confessed to taking 500 units, police said, and selling copper piping in the past year.
Detectives said thieves can lift a unit out in less than two minutes. Their goal isn't the entire unit, but the copper pipes inside.
Stewart hired crews to replace two of the four air conditioners taken, with the replacement cost totaling about $15,000.
"I'm hoping this will stop it," said Stewart.
Conyers police told Thomas that they are now working with agencies across metro Atlanta, looking to link Cox and Henry to other thefts. The Atlanta Police Department is one agency very interested in the duo.
"We have seen an uptick in metals thefts and we have a sort of task force that's looking into it," said Carlos Campos of the Atlanta Police Department.
"I think they hurt a lot of people and even emotionally. They did a number on a lot of people," said Stewart.