Copper thieves stole the compressors from two massive air conditioners that cool the production floor of a nonprofit that offers employment options to disabled adults.
The units, which were only a few years old, were damaged beyond repair in last week's theft, and now must be replaced, according to JobOne officials. They believe thieves stole the units so they can resell the copper and aluminum to scrap dealers.
The lack of air conditioning has created complications for JobOne employees with medical needs that make them vulnerable to higher temperatures.
"It's miserable and hot," said Helen Young who has worked at JobOne for several years. "How could anybody do that?"
When the warehouse began to get warm last week and the air conditioning wasn't working, that's when JobOne officials made the unsettling discovery.
"We walked out back and took a look at the compressors and they were both gone," JobOne's Aaron Martin said. "The large, commercial air-conditioning units had been stolen.
Some employees are staying home, costing JobOne funding from governments based on their daily workforce total.
For those employees who are working, large fans have been set up throughout the production floor. Additional breaks are being given along with keeping ample water supplies on hand. Cool treats such as popsicles are also available.
Some employees are working in the air-conditioning sections of the building including the administrative section.
JobOne officials say members of the community have either donated or let JobOne borrow fans, ice, water, lemonade, popsicles and ice cream.
They could use more bags of ice and popsicles.
Helen Young says the assistance is appreciated, but it is still stifling for the workers.
"It helps to cool down a little bit, but it feels like it's just blowing hot air around," Young said.
Replacing the units is expected to take more than a week because planning must be done, permits acquired and a crane brought in to install the oversized units. The replacement costs will top $30,000.
JobOne workers put in about 30 hours per week. They package, assemble and sort through recyclables.
JobOne welcomes any donations to help them. Their website is www.job1one.org or their mailing address is JobOne, 12600 3rd St., Grandview, MO 64030.
You can email questions or offers to deliver supplies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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