Four people have been arrested in connection with repeated metal thefts in Peoria, officers said.
Michael Panyko, Daniel Harris, April Acevedo and Bridgette Harris are accused of stripping rooftop commercial AC units on a rooftop at a vacant building near 91st and Peoria avenues.
They were apprehended May 5 just before 3 a.m.
Earlier in April, members of the Peoria Police Department's Community Impact Team first discovered the thefts. Evidence at the scene suggested the suspects were likely to return and continue, police said.
Surveillance teams watched the building and on May 5 the suspects returned to continue stripping the remaining AC units, police said.
Officers said two women served as lookouts while the two men climbed on the roof and threw the stripped AC parts down to be collected later.
It's estimated the group caused damage of more than $200,000.
During police interviews, the suspects admittedthey made several trips to the vacant building and would also target unattended construction vehicles to steal wire or other metal scraps and tools, officers said.
The group would then take the scrap metal to recyclers in Phoenix and get money they needed to pay for their drug habits, officers said.
Investigators are trying to determine if there are other suspects connected to the crimes.
People with any information about the case are asked to call the police department's tip line at 623-773-7045.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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