FORT MYERS, Fla. - Deputies have arrested a man they say is responsible for the theft of 15 air conditioning units…and possibly more. On May 27, 2011 detectives from the Bravo District Criminal Investigative Division were working a burglary and theft operation due to recent reports of numerous AC thefts. While working the operation, detectives began observing a suspicious vehicle behind 2950 Winkler Avenue. Detectives set up surveillance on the property.
At this time, detectives could hear what they believed to be a cordless drill near the building. A male, later identified as Joseph Beams, was observed near multiple air conditioning units before he left the area. Approximately one hour later, Beams returned to the business and began to load the cut air conditioning components (copper coils) into the bed of his white Ford F-150 pick up truck. Detectives and deputies converged on Beams as he loaded a copper coil into the bed of his truck. There were 15 separate air conditioners dismantled with the copper coils removed.
Beams was arrested on the spot. He's been charged with 15 counts each of Grand Theft and Criminal Mischief. The investigation continues as detectives look into whether Beams is involved in other AC thefts within Lee County.