Recently there was a flyer circulating that read "Stop A/C theft 100%". It also read "GPS it, don't cage it." The article implied that cages for air conditioners are ugly and for the most part ineffective. It goes on to say how for $200 up front, the A/C unit would be equipped with a "State of the Art" GPS tracking system specifically designed for this. The company also claims to have a 15 second response time and "if the cops don't get there fast enough to catch the thief, we will track the GPS to where the stolen Air Conditioner is and retrieve it for you for an additional recovery fee of $100". Let's not forget the $40.00 a month monitoring fee. This is not a practical solution for protecting your air conditioner.
First, this does nothing to stop your air conditioner from being stolen. Despite the claim of cages being unsightly, an enclosure could arguably enhance the aesthetics of an air conditioner, especially if the unit is older. There are several styles to choose from and many actually keep leaves and debris from collecting in your unit which could extend the service life. Damage from storms and vandalism also are minimized with an air conditioner cage.
Second, whether a GPS sends a distress signal to the police or not, do you honestly think they are going to put out an All Points Bulletin for your air conditioner crying for help? Remember, it takes less than 5 minutes to steal an un-protected unit and the police department has far more serious crimes to deal with prior to rushing to a call like this.
Third, the valuable copper, which is what is ultimately stolen, will be long gone by the time the GPS and the rest of the air conditioner scrap are found.
Finally, even if you pay your monthly monitoring bill, your unit is stolen and found without significant damage, and the thief goes to jail, do you think the satisfaction of knowing you helped put a criminal behind bars is going to make up for the expense of replacing your unit? After you pay your $100 recovery fee, you will still be financially responsible for having the unit repaired or replaced. So where is the advantage? Just the damage of having a unit ripped from its foundation often costs more than an air conditioner cage. By the way, how long have you been without air conditioning or heat since this happened?
Cages are the best solution for air conditioner theft. When a thief is looking to steal an air conditioner, you want to be ruled out from the very beginning. If there are three bicycles outside a department store and one has a chain, one has an alarm, and the third has nothing, which one would you guess would be first to get stolen? The bicycle with nothing right? Which one would be next? You guessed it, the one with the alarm or GPS. The bicycle with the chain is not going anywhere without a lot of work and that is why you should invest in a cage to protect your expensive investment.
Information provided by: Property Armor