UPDATE: Friday, July 27, 2012
A Wichita man has pleaded guilty to stealing dozens of air conditioning units just weeks after his arrest.
Byron Stuckey, 41, pleaded guilty to felony theft and fleeing from officers. Police said he was responsible for 68 AC thefts in the area since January.
He was arrested while allegedly trying to steal an AC unit from a vacant home in the 11000 block of East Pawnee July 11.
Stuckey will be sentenced next month.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Wichita Police have arrested a man they say is connected to the thefts of 68 AC units around Wichita since January.
Police arrested 41-year-old Byron Stuckey Wednesday as he was allegedly trying to steal an AC unit from a vacant home in the 11000 block East Pawnee. That home is owned by a contractor currently working in Afghanistan.
"[Officers] observed him go toward the back end of the residence. He then carried an air conditioning unit to his vehicle. We went to check to make sure that it was missing an air conditioning unit and we tried to stop him as he was leaving the area," said Capt. Jeff Easter, Wichita Police.
Police had been monitoring Stuckey after officers arrested the man for allegedly taking an air conditioning unit from a church near 23rd Street and Market. However, the church did not want to prosecute the thief.
"The decision was made to go ahead and start surveilling this individual because we found out other information by doing research that he had scrapped about 68 units," said Easter.
Stuckey is believed to have stolen AC units from homes as well as eight area churches.
Police say the value of the scraps of metal involved in these cases is about $6,859.
Stuckey made a first appearance in court this afternoon on charges of larceny.