Omaha Goodwill looking for thief who tore through A/C units

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Goodwill is hunting for the identity of a thief who caused expensive damage to a store selling inexpensive items to fund job training for people with disabilities.

“We’re serving the community, so it’s frustrating someone would do this to us,” says Erin Blackledge, vice president of Goodwill Stores.

The thief didn’t hit in the store, but on top, ripping out the expensive guts from four industrial-size air conditioners.

“$32,000 worth is still a burden even with insurance, and just time to get the parts back in before the summer hits, so it’s just really frustrating and something we didn’t plan on,” Blackledge said.

But the thief had a plan, first driving to the back of the store, pulling a trailer.

And this thief went above and beyond by bringing his own ladder and extending it to reach the roof and those air conditioner units.

The thief spent three hours on the roof -- and video shows him tossing copper and parts.

“He must have known what he was doing,” Blackledge said. “He had the right tools and clamped the wires so he had no Freon coming out.”

But the thief made a mistake walking by the camera without a mask, which gives police a better look at his face and leads to a possible tip on his identity.

“Goodwill does have video surveillance just to protect our property and safeguard our guests that come into stores,” said Mike Brunnert with Goodwill loss prevention.

The thief drove away with parts torn out of air conditioning units, possibly to reuse or sell for scrap -- so Goodwill is spreading the word.

“When he sees it on TV, I think he’ll be shocked,” Brunnert said.

CAN YOU HELP?

If you can identify the theft suspect and/or the vehicle he drove, contact Omaha Police by texting “OPD” along with your tip to CRIMES (274-637); or call 402-444-STOP (7867).

Goodwill will also pass on any tips.