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2 charged with stealing home air conditioning parts

By Staff | Sep 25, 2008

Two North Fort Myers men were arrested on charges of burglary and property damage, accused of stealing air conditioning parts from a north Cape Coral home Tuesday afternoon.

Audie Allen King, 23, and Bobby Joe Arrington, 18, were each charged with burglary to a structure causing over $1,000 damage, criminal mischief property damage and petit larceny after police reportedly caught them with stolen air conditioning coils from a home in the 1100 block of Northeast 35th Lane.

According to reports, King and Arrington were driving a white truck in the Gator Circle area that matched a description given by a witness. The witness reportedly told police two white males stole air conditioning parts and left the scene in a white pickup truck about a mile from where King and Arrington were detained on Averil Boulevard.

Police said the time elapsed since police were dispatched was consistent with the distance the truck had traveled.

Officers noted several air conditioner coils in the truck bed along with bolt cutters and a crow bar.

Arrington reportedly told police, “Those (air conditioner) parts were there when (King) picked me up.”

“I didn’t steal anything, I was just trimming trees,” King reportedly said.

Arrington told police he and King came to the Gator Circle area earlier in the day to find jobs trimming trees, denying involvement in a theft, officers reported.

King said the air conditioner coils had been in the truck for two days, but did not elaborate on how he got the coils, reports state.

The coils, bolt cutters and crow bar were taken into police evidence, along with two shirts, one of which had blood on it. Police reported what appeared to be blood was on the home’s air conditioner unit, and Arrington’s hand had injuries that appeared consistent with scrapes from the stolen coils.

The witness identified Arrington and King on scene, according to police.

The owner of the home was contacted and requested to press charges, estimating the value of the air conditioning unit at $3,500.

King and Arrington were transported to the Lee County Jail in apparent good health, police said.

Off-duty Sgt. Georgeann Lytle is credited with stopping the truck with King and Arrington and noting the air conditioning coils, crowbar and bolt cutters.

“When I hear about an off-duty officer who responds to an incident, it just reinforces the value of having our police officers driving assigned vehicles, and being visible and available at all times,” said Police Chief Rob Petrovich in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

In an unrelated incident, another off-duty officer, Jason Sprague, conducted a traffic stop and discovered drugs inside a vehicle. Two suspects were arrested and charged.