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July 31, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Lawyers — and even the DA — aren’t safe from thieves looking for metal in air conditioners

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Joe Schoenmann

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s law office, 601 S. Seventh St., is one of several places where air conditioning units were stolen in the past few weeks.

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 | 5:29 p.m.

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The Outside Las Vegas Foundation, 919 E. Bonneville Ave., is one of several places downtown that have recently had air conditioner units stolen.

Eager to strip and resell the recyclable copper from the innards of industrial-sized air conditioning units, burglars have stolen 18 or so units from various offices downtown over the past few weeks.

Many of the burglaries have happened in so-called "Lawyers Row," an area of older homes north of Charleston Boulevard converted into law offices, a Metro Police spokesman said.

One of those was that of Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson at 601 S. Seventh St. Burglars also recently took a unit from the office of the nonprofit, Outside Las Vegas Foundation, 919 E. Bonneville Ave.

Earlier this week, the law office of Kristina Wildeveld & Associates was also hit.

Wildeveld said when she first talked to Metro, she was told to file a report but that no one would be dispatched because the value of the loss wasn’t large enough. She said the cost to replace the unit will be about $10,000, which she hopes her insurance will cover.

Wildeveld said she called Metro back after an acquaintance told her the theft at Wolfson’s office resulted in a Metro investigation. After her second call, she added, Metro sent an officer who took a report.

Wolfson deferred all questions to Metro.

A Metro spokesman said many of the burglaries have occurred next to an area currently undergoing drainage and road work. Because the roads aren't well traveled — some are closed forcing commuters to navigate creative detours — the spokesman said it's easier for criminals to act without being seen.

Downtown isn't the only area plagued by air conditioner thefts; a Metro spokesman said the problem crops up sporadically "valleywide."

In early July, another nonprofit, Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada, in a 53,000-square-foot building at 2980 Robindale Road, had three of its AC units stolen. A $1,000 cash reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest.

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