Two arrested in air conditioning theft

Published 10:47pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two Selma men were arrested Monday for stealing an air conditioning unit police valued at $12,000 from an area business.

Sam Hartley, 55, and Nathan Murphy, 33, were both charged with first-degree theft of property and booked into the Dallas County Jail with $100,000 bonds.

Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said the business owner where the air conditioning unit was stolen, located on the 1000 block of Lapsley Street, caught the suspects on camera stealing the unit.

“We got the initial report late that morning from the owner of the business, and in talking with the owner, he advised us that he had some cameras,” Riley said. “Once we got a copy of that footage, we were able to talk to some people, get an idea of who the people were that were on it and from that we were able to identify the suspects that were in the video.”

Four days after filing the report, Hartley and Murphy were arrested.

“These individuals [who are stealing air condition units], when you catch them the first time, that’s not the first time they’re doing it,” Riley said. “You know that’s not the first time. So when you’re able to identify, apprehend and incarcerate them, that really helps the community.”

Riley said he recommends that all business and residents place video cameras by their equipment.

“That video, it played a major part,” he said. “Some people say, ‘Well, you’ve got the video, but they still do the crime.’ Yes, yes they do. You can’t have thousands of police officers in one small city watching every corner. But the key to [catching them on video] is putting things in place to help you identify the suspects if a crime should occur. That’s the important thing.”

Riley said law enforcement nationwide are relying more on video. Catching someone on video goes a long way in helping to identify suspects, he said.

As of mid-day Tuesday, both Hartley and Murphy had not made bond.

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