Thief steals air conditioning unit from cancer patient

A crook in Livingston County targeted the home of a woman battling cancer, stealing her central air unit right from her back yard.

Cathleen Clay knew something was wrong at 5 p.m. Monday night when she called her daughter Tressa with news that the home's air conditioning was broken. 

"I was like why doesn't someone go look at it, so my step dad went outside to look at it," Tressa Sanders said. "And he says there is nothing to look at."

Seven months ago Cathleen was diagnosed with cancer, and spends most of her time in her home. As if chemo therapy isn't making things uncomfortable enough, now she has to battle the summer heat.

"We've had a lot of heartache this past year and this was just one more thing," Sanders said.

It turns out that thieves had already been here, a/c units are known to be scrapped for their copper and other metals.

"They cut it while the electricity was still on and completely removed it in broad daylight," Sanders said.

There was no fixing this problem and replacing it was going to cost them. Sanders took to social media - and her post explaining what happened reached a total stranger with the ways and means to help. 

"So when I talked to my coworker and my boss they were like let's do it," said Erika Mischung of Tomtek HVAC. "It's been exciting."

In less than a day a solution was in sight.  Tomtek Heating and Cooling agreed to install a new unit for free. 

"I went out to her house and took pictures and saw what happened," Mischung said. "I talked to her step-dad and it broke my heart."

This help gives Sanders and her mom the ability to focus on getting better and not worrying about how to stay cool or pay for a new a/c unit. 
"Right now we are strapped for cash so my husband and I have been helping out as much as we can," Sanders said. "It was something that was not in our budget at the moment. So this was beyond anything we could have imagined to have happened to our family."

"She wasn't sure how to react, 'Do I believe it, do I not believe it?'" Mischung said. "I told her don't worry we got you taken care of. And I think we talked until about midnight."

And Tomtek is even going one step further. 

"I told her I am going to buy some wood and build a cage," Mischung said. "So it doesn't happen again."