Two Putnam County men were arrested Thursday and a juvenile is facing criminal charges in connection with stealing air conditioning units and selling them to local metal recycling companies.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said it recently received multiple reports of stolen air conditioners from local area churches. After learning about these thefts, a detective who specializes in pawn shop and metal recycling cases contacted all the scrap yards throughout Putnam, Marion and St. Johns counties.
Deputies said he discovered that 18-year-old Matthew Hudson Jr. had sold air conditioner parts on multiple occasions to 1st Coast Recycling in Palatka.
Detectives said they found Hudson and 18-year-old Devin Fennel at a Satsuma home.
Both men were questioned at the Sheriff's Office, and investigators said they determined that both and possibly a 16-year-old were responsible for the thefts of the AC from First Baptist Church in San Mateo (4 AC Units), Grace Community Baptist Church in Palatka (2 AC Units) and Church of God in San Mateo (4 AC Units).
Detectives said the three also tried to steal the units from San Mateo Presbyterian Church but were unsuccessful.
The approximate value of all of the air conditioning units stolen was $55,000, to include damages with the approximate value of $10,000.