Two men have been charged with stealing 52 used air-conditioning units from a St. Louis Park appliance store so they could sell them to recycling companies for scrap metal.
Jordan Micah Martin, 21, of Brooklyn Park and Tyrone Curtis Reynolds, 42, of Minneapolis are each charged with felony theft, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A St. Louis Park police officer was on patrol near ApplianceSmart in the 3700 block of Excelsior Boulevard just after 2 a.m. Nov. 25 because the store has recently been the victim of thefts of appliances, scrap metal and other items containing copper, according to the criminal complaint, signed by St. Louis Park Police Detective Aaron Balvin.
When the officer drove into the store’s parking lot near the loading dock, he spotted a van with a large trailer attached parked at the dock. The open trailer contained dozens of air-conditioning units, according to the complaint.
The officer called for backup. When the other officer arrived, they found two men crouching behind the trailer; the men were identified as Reynolds and Martin.
As Reynolds and Martin were being arrested, officers spotted a large commercial-grade circular saw inside the van, according to the complaint.
Martin admitted to police that he and Reynolds had entered the ApplianceSmart storage area and had taken the air-conditioning units, the complaint says.
Police subsequently contacted the ApplianceSmart manager, who saidthe area where the two men were found had been locked and secured. He said the technician in charge of the store’s storage area told him three or four pallets of air-conditioning units were missing, translating to 40 to 50 units.
The manager said the old air conditioners are trade-ins from customers and are kept for scrap purposes. The store breaks down each unit to recycle all the available metals; the manager estimated the value of the 52 stolen units was between $4,000 and $6,000.
A subsequent search of the van turned up a number of receipts from recycling companies, along with several hand tools that could be used to gain access to locked or secured areas, according to the complaint.
Reynolds’ criminal history includes convictions for theft in 2000, 2008 and earlier this year.
Both Martin and Reynolds have been released from custody on separate $5,000 bonds. Omnibus hearings in both cases are scheduled Jan. 24 in Hennepin County District Court.