NORFOLK, Va. - Michael Perrigo, a 911 dispatcher, has heard countless calls from victims of crimes. However, he didn't think he would be making a call himself one day. That day came Sunday, when he discovered A/C units in his backyard destroyed.
"All of them opened up, covers taken off and both compressors and are all internally damaged or stolen," said Perrigo.
The home where the units were destroyed is nestled on W. 30th Street in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk. Perrigo said he and his wife lived there for 13 years but missed being close to the beach, so last year they decided to list the house on the market. In June, they found a home perfect for them, so they moved out, hoping to expedite the rental or buying process.
The A/C unit and heating system were housed in a fence with a lock, which was cut.
"All of a sudden you're the victim; it's incredibly hard. So angry and I just... we lived here for 13 years and never had a problem and suddenly we're having to deal with this," said Perrigo.
Perrigo said the A/C unit was installed less than a year ago and according to the police officer who responded, this crime is more common than one would think.
"He says they'll take that all the way, break it down and within a day or two the copper is at a salvage yard and they maybe made $200-$300 off the copper. Now we're looking at at least $7,000 to get it replaced," said Perrigo.
While looking at the destroyed units in his backyard, Perrigo had a thought.
"I wouldn't suspect this is the first time they've done this. They knew exactly what to take," he said.
Norfolk Police said there was an oil trail starting in the backyard where the units were and continuing down the street for several blocks. None of the homes on the street had cameras and there were no witnesses.
Perrigo said both he and his wife are glad there wasn't more damage and that no one was hurt. Plus, Perrigo said this crime has given him a new perspective for what he does as a 911 dispatcher.
"I really thought it wouldn't affect me the way it did, but right now I'm right there with the people I talk to on the phone every single day. It's taught me a lot, it really has," said Perrigo.