CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Four air conditioning units were stolen from a Clayton daycare this week, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said.
The units, which are worth an estimated $20,000, were stolen from the Childcare Network. The daycare is very close to the Mt. Pleasant Advent Christian Church on N.C. Highway 42 where two units were also stolen this week.
“I realized that my desk is a little warmer than normal so I immediately go check the thermostat which I notice is off so I think to myself, ‘I need to go call the air conditioning guy,'” said Donna Luper, the assistant director of the daycare.
Johnston County Sheriff’s Office officials said no arrests have been made in either case, but this kind of crime is common in the summer and often occurs at businesses and churches that are unoccupied much of the time and are located in rural areas.
“They took away from children that we provide quality care for here,” she said. “I don’t think I was mad. I was sad and hurt that someone would choose to do such a thing to childcare facility. It could have been their child facility, where their children go that could have been affected by the same thing.”
Capt. Jeff Caldwell with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said these crimes often occur at night. Caldwell recommends businesses and churches whose air conditioning units are behind buildings to conceal them and try to create a barrier such as a fence. He suggests adding security or video surveillance as well.
Staff has already added several portable units throughout the daycare to supplement and keep the facility cool. Upon learning that the units were stolen, children were immediately redirected to areas that were cool, due to the one remaining AC unit that was not stolen.