MONROE, N.C. -- Monroe police are looking for copper thieves that hit at least 25 businesses in just three days.
The thieves cut copper piping from air conditioning units outside businesses in mostly strip malls between Wednesday and Saturday, said Lt. Bobby Manus of Monroe Police Dept.
Shopping strips along West Roosevelt Blvd., Skyway Drive, East Phifer Street, and N. Charlotte Ave were among those hit.
The thieves didn't bother dismantling the units, said Lt. Manus. They merely cut the copper pipe leading from the wall to the unit, he said.
In some cases, the destruction cost close to $12,000 damage.
At one plaza along W. Roosevelt Blvd. electrical boxes hung from the walls where they had been torn off. One A/C unit showed fresh tape and insulation from where it had been repaired.
Among those affected citywide are a Domino's pizza, a realty office, and two hair salons.
Nora Albarran told NBC Charlotte that she noticed Thursday morning that her air conditioning at her salon on N. Charlotte Avenue wasn't working. When she went out back to see if the unit was on, she saw the damage.
A repairman she called said it would cost $2,000 to fix. Albarran has insurance, but that doesn't pay for the customers she lost when she had to close for two days.
"When somebody waits in the waiting room, it's too hot so people don't wait, they go," she explained. She estimates she lost 30 customers -- about $400 worth of business.
"Yeah, I lost work," she said.
Lt. Manus said investigators have a few leads, but no arrests as of Sunday night.
He asks anyone with information to call the Monroe Police Dept. at 704-282-4700 or Union County Crimestoppers at 704-283-5600.