“Bad boys, bad boys - whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boys, bad boys…”

It’s one of those tunes I can never get out of my head. It’s the very catchy theme music for that iconic television show, “COPS.” The show has this magnetic draw that even non-television viewers like myself are drawn to - even if the topic never involves the HVAC trade, which always piques my interest when it is featured on television.

I couldn’t imagine the subject matter for the show ever containing anything related to HVAC - until now. One crime wave has been sweeping the nation that may change script: copper thievery. There is a lot of it going on and much of it involves stealing copper tubing from rooftop and ground-level a/c units. Seems that the price of copper is high enough to make even the pettiest of thieves branch out into this market.

In fact, the cottage industry of anti-theft security devices is basking in the aftermath of this crime wave. Companies that manufacture and sell special cages to protect a/c units are probably seeing an increase in their sales. After all, not many home and business owners can absorb the higher insurance premiums and deductible payments every time someone feels the urge to steal their copper.

For this reason alone, it is finally time for a/c units to break into prime time. I can see it now, police helicopters shining powerful spotlights on business rooftops and swarms of S.W.A.T. team members descending on a single solitary crook, prying open the panel on a 25-ton unit, envisioning enough money from the subsequent sale of the precious tubing to pay for his next drug fix. Talk about high drama.

Then segue into an episode where a shirtless, unshaven homeowner is nervously puffing on a cigarette as police question him about the crime victim, an old 1-1/2 ton condensing unit next to his home, which has been deflowered by an unknown assailant. You can cut the tension with a butter knife.

I think it is high time that HVAC is brought into the national limelight (again) and the story is told of the real victims of copper theft - the units themselves. Make the public feel sorry for what our defenseless equipment is subjected to during the crime. Maybe then we and our equipment will finally get the respect we deserve.

Pssst: Now can someone tell me how to get the copper out of that old refrigerator in my garage? Baby needs a new pair of shoes.