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Press Release

Air Conditioner Thief Sentenced To Six-And-A-Half Years In Federal Prison For Damaging Environment

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Alexander Morrissette, age 27, of Monroe, Georgia was sentenced today in Macon, Georgia, by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.  Morrissette had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly releasing ozone-depleting substances into the environment.  Chief Judge Royal sentenced Morrissette to 78 months in federal prison.  There is no parole in the federal system and the term of imprisonment is to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  Morrissette was ordered to make restitution of $178,846.81, the amount of money needed to repair several commercial air conditioners illegally harvested for scrap metal.  Randall Scott Wimpey, a Co-Defendant, age 31, of Snellville, Georgia, was previously sentenced to 15 months in federal prison by Chief Judge Royal on February 20, 2013, in Athens, Georgia.

"These defendants destroyed several industrial-sized air conditioning units to steal copper and aluminum parts to sell for scrap metal," said United States Attorney Michael Moore.  "Their crimes not only caused property damage to a business and a church, it resulted in harm to the environment by releasing ozone-depleting refrigerant into the atmosphere, harming all of us."

"All life on earth depends on a healthy ozone layer in the stratosphere.  If that layer is depleted, the sun's ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer, cataracts and suppression  of the immune system," said Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Georgia.  "Through the illegal selling of air conditioner parts, the defendants violated the Clean Air Act, whose primary purpose is to protect human health.  This case is another good example of EPA's continuing efforts with state and local partners to investigate and prosecute illegal activity that places public safety in jeopardy."

The case was investigated by the Special Agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Monroe Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Danial E. Bennett.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2601.

Updated February 19, 2015