BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Department is investigating the theft of several air conditioning units at a Baton Rouge daycare.
The daycare, which is located on Greenwell Springs Road, is set to open its doors for the first time in September.
"As I was sitting here looking at the cement work, I just kind of looked over and I was like, 'Oh, the units are gone!'" said Pastor Edward Hayes, owner of the daycare.
Hayes said three outdoor air conditioners, each less than two months old, were stolen and the locks to each breaker box was removed.
"We were pretty much at the end of the journey and to come out and see the units taken was very devastating, very devastating," Hayes added.
Hayes believes the burglary is the work of a professional. He said the thieves left copper wiring behind, as well as an older unit near the front of the building.
"It was a contractor. It was not a common thief. A common thief would have taken everything. They would have left tracks, bottles, cigarettes, whatever, but the person that came in with this here, they were very good," Hayes explained.
Police said these types of burglaries are more common in the summer months and added any unprotected device is at risk.
"Individuals out there are stealing the coils, the condensing unit outside and all the components that are in there and they take that and they either sell that unit or take the internal parts and salvage it for money," Cpl. L'Jean McKneely with BRPD said.
Edward and his wife, Shantell, plan to use portable window air conditioners until they can replace the outside units. They also admitted the thefts have created a major setback in their scheduled opening, but they are determined to overcome the challenge.
"I said, 'You know what? Romans 8:28 says all things work together for the good' and so I said, 'We're not going to allow this to deter us in any way and we're going to keep moving forward' and so that's what we're doing," Shantell Hayes said.
The Hayeses said they are now targeting the second week of September to open their daycare.
If you know anything regarding this case, call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867).
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