Childcare center may shut down after 6 A/C units stolen - WNEM TV 5

UPDATE

Companies steps in when 6 A/C units stolen from childcare center

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

More than two dozen parents will not have to find a new daycare, after thieves stole the air conditioning units at a local childcare center.

That's because an area property management company and a heating and cooling business is stepping in and replacing all six air conditioners for free. Benchmark KC will begin installing the units Saturday morning, and the center hopes to be back open on Monday or Tuesday.

The thefts happened during a two month period, and the most recent one happened last weekend.

The thermostat inside the George Washington Carver Child Care Center, located at 43rd Street and Jackson Avenue, told staffers what they already knew Thursday: It is hot. It was so hot inside that the 28 children couldn't stay there.

"At 3 p.m., the thermometer said it was over 84 degrees. So, because of state regulations, we had to call all the parents, and the parents had to come pick their children up," said Lynn Beard, director of the childcare center.

The extremely hot conditions are what staffers have to deal with after thieves ripped their air conditioning units from their foundation. The first three were stolen in May.

Beard had been working to replace the stolen A/C units, when the thieves struck again.

"When we went out there over the weekend, the other three were gone," she said.

Beard believes the units were stolen, so thieves could sell the copper.

Al Smith with Right Temp Heating and Cooling said these types of thefts happen all the time, and it's likely thieves didn't' get much money.

"They probably had a $100 job here, and it cost this place thousands, tens of thousands of dollars," Smith said.

He said the center had to replace all six units because of the size of the building. One unit would likely break down from overuse.

"Think about the money you've put out for the one unit - it's six in one hand, half a dozen in the other," Smith said.

Beard feared she would have to close her doors if she couldn't get the air conditioners replaced, because she didn't want to put the children at risk.

"It's a big disappointment for us and them, because they love us and we love them. We want them here, but we have to make it safe," she said.

The center didn't have insurance, so Beard was going to have to pay out-of-pocket to replace the air conditioners. Estimates were between $13,000 and $20,000.

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