Air Conditioner Thief Sentenced To Prison On Clean Air Act Charges

It’s important to do your research and learn everything you can before embarking on a project so you can anticipate what things might go wrong. For example, your plan to steal air conditioners and disassemble them for parts could go wrong when you accidentally release freon into the air. That’s what happened to an Ohio man who recently took a federal plea deal…not for theft, but for violating the Clean Air Act with his ill-gotten ACs.

By “air conditioners,” we don’t mean little window units, but large building-sized ones. The plan was to sell the units for parts, but there was one problem: the tubing between the air conditioners and the buildings contained the coolant HCFC-22 (Freon), which is considered dangerous to the planet’s ozone layer. That’s why HVAC technicians have to be trained and licensed and such. Releasing the substance into the air is a federal crime, and this was the first time that anyone had been charged in the federal court in Columbus, Ohio for violating the Clean Air Act with air conditioners.

This situation isn’t as ridiculous as it could be: the thief/polluter also pleaded guilty to state charges of theft, failure to appear, and possession of drugs. It’s not clear whether the theft charge has anything to do with the air conditioner heist.

Don’t steal air conditioners. Come to think of it, don’t steal anything, and leave detaching air conditioners from buildings to the pros.

Air-conditioner thief agrees to prison term for Freon leaks [Columbus Dispatch]

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