So you think you have air-conditioner problems. At least you're not Nikki King.
King, executive director of Health Care Access, came to work at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to open the nonprofit health care clinic. By about 9 a.m., staff and clients started to complain that the air conditioner at the clinic, 1920 Moodie Road, was blowing warm air.
First, King checked the electrical box to make sure there wasn't a blown breaker. No, that wasn't the problem. Then she turned the unit off to give it a chance to catch up. That was no help. Finally, she walked out behind the building to make sure the unit itself looked OK.
It didn't. In fact, it was nowhere to be seen.
"There were just some wires and a piece of pipe hanging from the building where the air conditioner used to be," King said. "It was pretty obvious that someone with an oil-dripping pickup truck backed up and stole it in the middle of the night."
King spent the rest of the day sweating how much it was going to cost to replace the unit. She did some regular sweating, too. By late afternoon, temperatures in the clinic had reached 92 degrees.
"We're just truly flabbergasted that someone would steal our air conditioner," King said.
King, though, did receive preliminary word from the clinic's insurance company that Health Care Access would be responsible for only the $500 deductible, not the total replacement cost.
More about the theft
That will create a bit of a financial pinch. But not nearly as much as a several-thousand-dollar bill to replace the entire unit, especially after the clinic recently had its state funding cut by $38,000.
"We don't have a stolen-air-conditioner reserve fund or anything like that," King said.
A police department spokeswoman said she was not aware of any other air-conditioner thefts. But members of the city's heating and air-conditioner industry said such thefts were not unprecedented in the Kansas City area.
Rhonda Van Anne, with Lawrence's Advantage Heating and Air Conditioning, said air-conditioner units sometimes were stolen for the copper inside them. Copper is selling at near-record-high prices.
"Copper is a very big thing right now," Van Anne said. "We have people coming in almost every day asking us for the old units that we take out."
Van Anne also said some people cut the copper lines of air-conditioning units to get high off the refrigerant. And then, she said, there are some people who think they can figure out how to take the unit back to their own hot home.
Hooking up a stolen unit, though, would be difficult for most people, Van Anne said.
"Once they are hooked up, they would be a lot of work to cut out of there," Van Anne said. "I'm surprised that they didn't get electrocuted. There's a lot of electricity going to one of those units."