8 charged with stealing $1.5M in air conditioning units

8 arrested as part of 'Operation Cool Down'


MIAMI – Several South Florida law enforcement agencies on Wednesday arrested eight men accused of stealing more than $1.5 million in air conditioning units.

The eight -- Ariel Perez-Estupinan, 37; Orlando Noriega, 41; Jose Miguel Ortiz, 43; Mahe Batista, 34; Alejandro Llanes, 46; Nelson Leon Borges, 40; Pablo Rafael Mesa Barquin, 40; and, Jose Antonio Alvarado, 52 -- were charged with grand theft as part of "Operation Cool Down."

The men targeted new housing developments, including Grand Lakes Estates, Kendall Square, Isles of Bayshore, and Isles of Oasis, and stole the A/C units, police said. They also burglarized homes and stole units from the residences.

According to arrest affidavits, some of the men were seen stealing the A/C units while others were seen buying the stolen units.

The investigation began in 2012 when police recovered a stolen A/C unit from a housing development.