Who Knew Thate Stealing A/C Units Is Now A Federal Offense Under The Clean Air Act?

When conservatives refer to government overreach and the proliferation of Big Government, this fits in perfectly

(WLWT) An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by releasing a refrigerant into the air during the theft of dozens of air conditioning units.

Federal prosecutors say Martin Eldridge and others stole at least 49 units between August and October last year, releasing the refrigerant when tubing that connected units to houses and businesses was cut.

The 35-year-old Columbus man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to one count of knowingly venting the refrigerant HCFC-22 into the environment. That refrigerant is sold under trade names including Freon.

Eldridge will serve 31 months in prison under terms of the plea. His attorney declined to comment.

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13 Responses to “Who Knew Thate Stealing A/C Units Is Now A Federal Offense Under The Clean Air Act?”

  1. Jeffery says:

    A career criminal steals at least 49 A/C units by ripping them away from homes and businesses, dumping HCFC-22 into the atmosphere in the process, which is illegal, and you think his punishment is too severe.

    HCFC-12 depletes the ozone layer and is also a potent greenhouse gas. Since science deniers don’t “believe” in the greenhouse effect, it’s understandable that you think dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is OK.

  2. The federal penalty, yes. He also was sentenced to 5 years in jail for theft. That was appropriate.

  3. theBuckWheat says:

    “HCFC-12 depletes the ozone layer and is also a potent greenhouse gas.”

    Prove it. In fact it is only conjecture that it is harmful. Pure theory. Nobody has been able to point to any real damage to the ozone layer. In fact natural variability is so large that if human activity is causing any change, it cannot be observed for the “noise” of natural change.

    Go worship Gaia and big government in your own Utopia and leave me alone.

  4. John says:

    Every certified HVAC tech would know that ignorance of the lawis no excuse

  5. david7134 says:

    Jeff,
    The point is the over reaching Federal government and their insertion into every aspect of our lives. The guy should have been executed, But that is another discussion. The Federal government was not set up to involved itself in this or any other state related activity.

    John,
    As usual, you don’t make sense.

  6. gitarcarver says:

    Actually david, john does make sense on this one.

    John is saying that a trained HVAC man would know to capture the freon because releasing it into the air was a crime.

    But Martin Eldridge was not a HVAC technician. He was a thief and drug user.

    Absent knowledge of the fact that he was committing the crime of releasing the freon, there is no intent to commit the crime itself. There is no “mens rea” for this conviction which means the conviction should not stand but to argue that takes money.

    The guy entered a plea agreement because the weight of the Federal government will prosecute people like him but will protect Lerner, Holder, VA administrators, etc.

  7. Jeffery says:

    g2,

    So if an arsonist burns down a building for the insurance, accidently killing a watchman he didn’t know was there, he should not be prosecuted for the death?

    Perhaps if he had just stolen one air conditioner the feds would have let the Clean Air Act violation slide. But dozens? If a repairman or even a homeowner accidently released their Freon, the feds would let it slide. But this guy stole at least 49 units, recklessly releasing a dangerous chemical. Are you claiming that a crook wily enough to know to steal A/C units has absolutely no idea about the legality of Freon release? Or is your real point that Freon releases should be legal?

  8. Jeffery says:

    buckwheat,

    “Prove it. In fact it is only conjecture that it is harmful. Pure theory. Nobody has been able to point to any real damage to the ozone layer. In fact natural variability is so large that if human activity is causing any change, it cannot be observed for the “noise” of natural change.”

    That these halogenated organic compounds destroy ozone and are potent greenhouse gases is neither pure theory nor conjecture.

    I too mock those who subscribe to the Gaia concept.

    And although we all have the right to be left alone, we do not have the right to harm others.

  9. chester arthur says:

    Since you claim freon is soo deadly,why does the EPA allow walmart to sell a/c units that use it?My new a/c window unit still uses freon,and was made in China,so it had to be approved for import by the EPA before being allowed in the country.So,by the EPA ‘logic’,only American made freon is a problem?You also apparently don’t know the difference between freon 12 and freon 22,which is what the perp released into the air to go skyrocketing through lighter atmospheric elements to go destroy upper atmospheric ozone.While lighter ozone is considered a pollutant that just can’t rise above ground level,even though it is generally found in the upper reaches of the atmosphere,and tends to stay there.Let’s hear your opinion on that one.I’m sure you’ll dazzle us all.

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  12. gitarcarver says:

    So if an arsonist burns down a building for the insurance, accidently killing a watchman he didn’t know was there, he should not be prosecuted for the death?

    Let me go back and read what I wrote….. hmmm… nothing there that says anything about arson. I guess this is another case of you not understanding what you read.

    The fact of the matter is that in an arson, there is direct and foreseeable harm to others. Part of a manslaughter charge would be that the arsonist would know or should have known that there was a danger to human life.

    That is quite different from knowing of a regulation where there is no direct or foreseeable harm.

    Are you claiming that a crook wily enough to know to steal A/C units has absolutely no idea about the legality of Freon release?

    Let me see…. did I say anything about him being “wily?” Nope. Can’t see where I said that.

    The government needed to prove that he was aware of the freon and that it was regulated. What you are doing is speculating about his knowledge.

    The freon has value – great value in fact. It is quite expensive these days especially if the system is the old freon and not the new R12 refrigerant. .According to your (lack of) logic, the guy knew about the freon and let it go rather than capturing the valuable gas and selling it like he did for the metal (esp. copper) in the A/C units.

    If anything, the release of the gas shows he wasn’t aware of the value of the gas and the regulation.

    But that too is speculation – better speculation than you have made.

    What I am doing is noting that the government never proved that he knew of the regulation. I am living in reality, and you are living in fantasy.

    Or is your real point that Freon releases should be legal?

    Oh look…. not only does Jeffery fail to understand what is written, he makes up a lame strawman!

    Let me go back and read what I wrote again….. nope. Can’t see where I even intimated that releasing freon should be legal.

    You really have a comprehension problem, don’t you?

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