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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Metal theft is an ongoing problem in Charlotte, but on a day like Wednesday with the temperature inching toward 100 degrees, it can be especially cruel.

Just ask the employees of LULU restaurant on Central Avenue; someone stole one of the two main air conditioners.

The condition of working in the kitchen is very hot, the back of the restaurant is very hot and there is nothing I can do, said Fabrice Dinonno, the owner.

The seating area is cool and comfortable. Dinonno is thankful the thieves only took the back unit, otherwise he would have had to close entirely.

I ve been here for nine years and it s very amazing that people would do something like this. We re a very small business.

It will cost $4,000 to replace the unit and probably take a week for Dinonno s insurance to settle the claim. In the meantime his kitchen help will have to sweat through the hottest week of the year so far.

That s not right, somebody going and stealing the air conditioner during the summer time. It s like stealing the food off my plate, it just doesn t work like this, said the owner.

Police say there are several things you can do to protect yourself like caging your air conditioner or putting an alarm on it.

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