Thieves target condo buildings’ fire alarm systems

Recently, thieves have taken to swiping electronic circuit boards in fire alarms, most of which cost upward of $1,000, from condo buildings, leaving hundreds of residents at risk.

“My God, they could have been dead in their beds,” Janet Bianchi, president of Margate’s Palm Lakes Condominium, told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s just scary we were left vulnerable.”

Thieves sell the panels as repair parts for other alarm systems, according to Fire Chief Frank Babinec of Coral Springs. Babinec’s inspectors recently discovered five missing panels from one condominium complex and another two apartment complexes were hit within the past month, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

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In Tamarac, more than 42 panels have been stolen in eight condos within the last six months, including Bermuda Club, Hidden Harbor and Lime Bay.

As of yet, officials have little idea as to who is stealing the panels or where they are being resold.

“These are all things we hope to learn more about,” fire marshal spokeswoman Ashley Carr said. “We anticipate a black market value and have been looking out for these to pop up for sale through various means, but the questions of who and where are all part of what we hope to learn.” [Sun-Sentinel]Christopher Cameron