Hot water heaters become hot item for thieves

Wallace Miller at one of his properties in south Albany. / Jessica Fairley

An Albany homeowner says he is one of many landlords being targeted by burglars.

Over the last two weeks, Wallace Miller has had three properties burglarized for their hot water heaters.

Tuesday afternoon, he caught the criminals red handed.

Miller was stopping by one of his properties when he noticed an unknown truck parked in the driveway. He says the suspects played it cool.

"I asked them what were they doing and they acted like there was no problem. They said we're cleaning it out for the owner and I said oh you are and he said yeah we're cleaning out all this old stuff for the owner," said Wallace Miller, JW Rental.

Miller knew the crew was telling a lie because he was the owner.

He says his back door had been kicked in, liquid from the hot water heater was all over the place and the home was missing door knobs and plumbing items.

When he went to his car to call 911 the suspects sped off.

Jaime Harris and Susan Price were later found and charged with burglary.

Those with Modern Gas say when burglars go after hot water heaters; it's like that they aren't making much of a profit.

"When we take a water heater out for a customer and swap it out we get about $10 for one. You know there may be some residual copper on the top of them but besides that there's just not a whole lot of money in a junk water heater," said Mark Holloway, President of Modern Gas in Lee County.

Wallace Miller says while copper thefts in his properties have declined, he's noticed that thieves are targeting other items.

He's calling for officials to enact stricter laws so that stolen merchandise can't be sold.

Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!