Air Conditioner Thief Sentenced for Violating Clean Air Act
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Shannon Wayne Harrold, 48, of Glenford, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $29,045 in restitution for violating the Clean Air Act by cutting the tubing on air conditioning units he was stealing, which released a regulated refrigerant into the environment.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Jeffery Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
According to court documents, in August and September 2015, Harrold engaged in a scheme to steal air conditioner units in order to sell the copper and parts from the units at scrap yards. He targeted suburbs in Central Ohio, stealing several units and dismantling them on site. Harrold was arrested on September 18, 2015 following a high-speed chase with the police, during which Harrold drove through several residential neighborhoods at more than 90 miles per hour.
“The defendant’s actions hurt businesses financially and put human health at risk,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “We helped investigate the case and we’ll continue to work with our task force partners on others like it to protect Ohioans.”
“Refrigerants deplete the ozone layer which protects people from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation such as skin cancer, so it’s imperative that they are handled properly and in accordance with the law,” said Jeffrey Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Ohio. “Through the illegal venting of refrigerants and the sale of stolen air conditioner parts, the defendant violated the Clean Air Act, which protects public health and clean air. EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to the investigation and prosecution of illegal conduct that jeopardizes public safety.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the U.S. EPA, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Westerville Police Department, Whitehall Police Department, Gahanna Police Department, Ohio EPA and Columbus Division of Police, as well as Assistant United States Attorney J. Michael Marous and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather B. Robinson and Brad J. Beeson, who are representing the United States in this case.