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Missing air conditioner turns up the heat at Robbins public library

Police Chief Johnny Holmes says he’s sure it was a theft. He said officers have lifted foot prints and finger prints from the scene, but they don’t have any leads.

SHARE Missing air conditioner turns up the heat at Robbins public library

Ahead of 90 degree temperatures around Chicago Wednesday, the air conditioner at the public library in south suburban Robbins has gone missing, and patrons, local police and librarians there are trying to solve the mystery.

Librarian Priscilla Coatney said she and her colleagues thought the library felt warmer than usual last Friday, so she called a repairman. As luck would have it, their repairman was tied up for a few days, and before he could come in, Coatney said her husband drove by and noticed something wasn’t right.

“He said, ‘Look up. Look up at the air conditioner.’ And that’s when we discovered that it had been totally dismantled,” Coatney said.

“Everyone is just appalled. And we just need to know who did this. And why?”

Police Chief Johnny Holmes says he’s sure it was a theft. He said officers have lifted foot prints and finger prints from the scene, but they don’t have any leads just yet. Holmes said it’s not unusual for culprits to try and steal air conditioning units for the metals that are inside, especially the copper wiring.

The unit on the roof of the public library in Robbins was purchased four years ago through a state-funded grant, according to Coatney. Since the library, which doubles as a cooling center, has been going through tough times financially, losing the air conditioner was another blow. Coatney says library hours have been cut, staff members haven’t recieved raises in seven years, and they’re always on the edge of financial failure.

“We’re just upset because everyone loves the library. Who doesn’t like a library, you know?” she said.

Supporters of the library are trying to raise a reward for $500 to $1,000 for any information or the return of the air conditioner. In the meantime, Coatney says they’ll try to keep the library open, but if it gets too hot they’ll have to shut down.

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