Thieves in Virginia targeting heat-pump and HVAC systems for value of the scrap

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HVAC systems appear to retain their allure for thieves, who seem less interested in climate control than in the value of the copper parts as scrap, both in Washington and throughout the country, authorities say.

In the Washington area, two recent, large-scale HVAC thefts were reported last week in Prince William County, involving equipment with a total value of more than $60,000, police said. In one case, six exterior HVAC systems pieces of were taken from outside a church in Woodbridge, police said.

Staff members at the First Church of the Nazarene on Smoketown Road told officers on Oct. 30 that equipment valued at $48,000 had been taken overnight, the police said.

The next day, police said equipment valued about $14,000 was taken from the 18300 block of Quantico Gateway Drive, in the Triangle area.

Later that day, police said, a tip led them to a house in the Woodbridge area, where they found disassembled HVAC parts.

Further investigation led to four arrests, police said. Security specialists say saws and bolt cutters are sometimes used to remove outdoor HVAC equipment.

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