Cops: Deaf Men Caught Red-Handed In A/C Heist

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.,None — Two deaf men were caught Wednesday morning when they tried to strip the air-conditioning units at a Rockledge warehouse off Murrell Road ( see map ), police said.

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A tip led investigators to the suspects. Police said they caught them red-handed trying to steal thousands of dollars worth of copper wire from the units.

The warehouse owner, Jim Swann, spoke with WFTV and said he will never forget the incident.

"These guys took it very seriously," Swann said.

Swann said two days ago, a maintenance worker noticed copper wire had been cut on A/C units on top of his 70,000 square-foot building.

"The air conditioner fella was pretty sure they didn't do all that work for nothing. They were coming back," he said.

Swann called Rockledge police, but he said he didn't think he'd see justice for what he said is $200,000 in damage.

However, Tuesday night, officers set up surveillance hiding deep in the woods waiting for something to happen.

"Police chief says he got a call 'Boss there's guys going up the ladder,'" he said.

Swann got dressed and headed over to his property. He was astonished to find out that the officers' plan had worked, but even more surprised at what he learned next.

"They were apparently deaf. I don't know how many deaf robbers there are, but I got to think there's not many," he said.

Law enforcement used a helicopter to track the men from the air with night vision cameras while officers closed in on them from the ground. Officers had guns drawn and K-9 units waiting when the two finally gave up.

Rockledge police took both suspects into custody, and also took a trailer into evidence they said the crooks planned to use to haul away the materials.

The two men have been charged with burglary and grand theft. Their names have not been released because Rockledge police said the investigation is ongoing.