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Thieves target copper from AC unit at Orlando outreach center

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando outreach center is regrouping after police said thieves struck the building on Thursday.

Police said the burglars targeted the Community Food and Outreach Center for the building's air-conditioning system.

The organization told Channel 9's Steve Barrett it was some of the most costly vandalism it's ever suffered.

Eric Gray said the thieves pulled off quite the acrobatic feat, which brought down an air-conditioning unit at the outreach center.

"They had to scale a 20-foot-tall interior roof structure, probably crawl across about 15 feet of truss along a concrete path," said Gray.

Police believe the target was the valuable copper inside the unit and the wiring system.

The thieves left behind a crowbar and a mess that will cost about $1,000 to clean up, authorities said.

The money that will be spent on repairs could have been spent helping the needy instead.

"We are doing direct service for hunger relief and poverty relief right here in downtown Orlando," said Gray.

Part of the unit was disassembled along the railroad tracks behind the building, so the thieves had to make the extra effort to hoist it over a large fence.

But instead of anger over the damage and cost, Gray has sympathy for whoever targeted the organization.

"I really feel for anybody who needed it that bad. They really needed our support in other ways," he said.

The center now has plans to install a surveillance system.