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APD: Color coding plays key role

Albany Police Department Investigator Tim Harvey explains how color-coded spray paint on air-conditioner parts could prevent a theft, stop scrap-metal dealers from buying the metal and help trace the stolen parts to their origin.

Albany Police Department Investigator Tim Harvey explains how color-coded spray paint on air-conditioner parts could prevent a theft, stop scrap-metal dealers from buying the metal and help trace the stolen parts to their origin.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Spray paint just might be the way to protect against air conditioner metal thieves who continue to steal copper throughout the city to sell for scrap.

"When you spray paint the parts of your air conditioner the thief sees the paint and he is likely to go elsewhere," said Albany Police Department Detective Timothy Harvey. "And spray them with a symbol that can be recognized. Scrap dealers won't buy spray-painted scrap metal."

The police have started a color-coding system for the spray paint. Residents and organizations in the east police district should use yellow paint. The central district, directly west of the Flint River to Slappey Boulevard is coded for white paint. The west, or orange district, begins to the west of Slappey Boulevard.

"Having the color-coded districts allows us to identify what part of town it came from," Harvey said. "Otherwise it is impossible to tell where it came from for our investigation."

Prevention by spray painting was one security suggestion during the security seminar at the Civic Center. At least 10 security companies such as Central Monitoring and Safe Security showcased their wares at the seminar.

William Bryant, otherwise known as Copper Dogg, was on hand with his company's security measure for air conditioning. He recommends a custom air conditioner cage to enclose the unit.

Many other security measures were offered at the seminar. If you think that locking your purchases in the trunk in the car during the holidays is safe, think again.

"I hate cell phones," said patrol officer Chris Richardson. "They are very good for crooks."

The picture of holiday gift shopping Richardson painted at the seminar was good, for crooks. Imagine, he said, you have just left Dillard's with 15 packages. You lock them in the trunk and head back to the mall to shop.

The crook watching the lot gets on his phone, "Hey get over here to this car. It has 15 packages in it and they went back in the mall."

Richardson said that to avoid this type of surveillance, a mall customer should get in the car and act as if leaving the mall. Then the customer should go park on the other side of the mall away from the crook's surveillance.

Many booklets packed with security measures and tips involving vehicles, homes and businesses are available though the Albany Police at the Law Enforcement Center, 201 West Oglethorpe Boulevard.