Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Imagine having to go days without any air in the famously hot city of Columbia. That's exactly what families in the Brookside Crossing Apartments are dealing with after several units were stolen.
Early this week people started to notice that adjusting the thermostats in their apartment wasn't getting any results, that's when some saw their AC units were gone.
"How can somebody steal 6 units from the side of the buildings, completely gone?" said Patrice Holmes.
She woke up to a surprising change in circumstance Tuesday morning.
'It's 87 degrees!" she said.
Sometime between 9 p.m. Monday and 8 the next morning, the Richland County Sheriff's Department says six air conditioning units were stolen from the Brookside Crossing Apartment complex on Springtree Drive, leaving about 12 of the 162 homes without cool air as temperatures climb.
"We kept hearing a tapping noise coming from the corner," said Holmes.
She now thinks she heard the theft from her second floor apartment in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but at the time she thought it was noisy neighbors.
"I'm trying to jog my memory to see if when I looked out the window did I see anything," she said.
Another neighbor says she saw suspicious people in the complex late Monday, and now regrets not following her instincts to report them.
That's exactly what Lt. Rafael Gonzalez with the sheriff's department says can help prevent people from becoming victims, reporting their suspicions to law enforcement.
"Be our eyes and ears for us, if you see something out of the ordinary give us a call, call 911, pick up that phone," he said.
The sheriff's department says the theft resulted in a loss of about $18,600 dollars.
That leaves those like Holmes struggling to stay cool. She bought and extra fan, turned out the lights and cracked the windows to help with the heat, but nothing short of a new AC unit will fix the problem for good.
"I just hope they resolve the issue, very quickly, I really do," she said.
Investigators have surveillance video that could help crack the case.
They have not yet released that video to the public.
If you have any information that can help you can call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.