Thieves Targeting Air Conditioning Units To Get High Off Freon

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The latest crime targeting air conditioning units has nothing to do with copper.  Apparently some thieves are huffing Freon in an attempt to get high.

One south St. Louis victim says police told her thieves likely broke into her air conditioning unit to do just that.

What those thieves don't know is that they are inhaling an extremely dangerous and toxic drug.

"I don't think anyone that uses this has any clue at all what they're messing with," said Dan Duncan, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  "It can cause brain damage or it can kill you."

Jerry Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning provides a special lock on all service calls in an effort to stop the potentially deadly crime.

"It's a really bad issue right now with kids wanting to get a cheap high," said Steve Miles, Jerry Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning.

The locks require a key in order to remove them. "Without the key the cap's not coming off," explains Miles.

Duncan has advice for anyone who thinks the practice is not dangerous, "Tell them to get away from you because you're playing with death."