San Antonio raspa shop stays cool using ice blocks, fan after AC theft

Owner of Chamoy City Limits said unit was stolen from the roof sometime last week

A raspa business is relying on some of its product to keep cool after someone stole its air conditioning unit.

SAN ANTONIO – On San Antonio’s North Side, a raspa business is relying on some of its product to keep cool after someone stole its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit.

The owner of Chamoy City Limits, Ana Fernandez, said the theft likely happened between Thursday and Friday.

“Everyone started to get hot, so we were like, ‘Why is it so hot?’” Fernandez said. “I tried to adjust the thermostat. We realized that it wasn’t doing anything, so I called (Dilmak Services Heating & Air).”

It wasn’t until then that she realized the problem was much greater than she had imagined.

“He showed me the casing of the unit, and it was just completely empty. And I was in shock,” Fernandez said.

Mike Pollaro, owner of Dilmak Services Heating & Air, said thefts of HVAC units are all too common.

“It’s always happened throughout the years,” Pollaro said. “But here, lately, it’s become more common.”

The copper, platinum and other metals that make up the unit could be sold at a recycling center or scrap yard.

“It’s hard to stop a theft when it comes to this type of equipment,” Pollaro said.

Due to supply shortages, Fernandez won’t get a replacement until sometime in June.

“Well, first just (because of) COVID,” Pollaro said. “It really put the manufacturers behind, and our lead time on a lot of equipment is 20 to 35 weeks out before we can get a piece of equipment. If it’s not in stock, they’re having to make it at the manufacturer.”

Fernandez found a way to cool down.

“Because we do sell ice, we’re in a better position,” Fernandez said. “We have these giant ice blocks. So what we did over the weekend -- we just put the ice blocks in, like, a bucket, and we put a fan behind. It’s like an old-school kind of air conditioner. It actually worked fine for now.”


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About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.