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Elderly Woman Dies From Heat After A/C Stolen

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A 79-year-old Oak Cliff woman succumbs to the North Texas heat and dies in her home just two days after reporting to police that her central air conditioner had been stolen.

Dolores Grissom’s home sits on a corner with the air conditioning unit is completely exposed; only protected by a cage with a lock.

On July 14 Grissom reported that her $2,500 unit was stolen. On July 16 she was found dead. Just this week the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office completed their report that stated Grissom’s death was heat-related.

Grissom, who was buried last week, lived with her son and unfortunately this wasn’t the first time the home had been burglarized. On at least two other occasions, in previous years, the air condition was also the target of thieves.

Neighbor Caroline Ware, who is disabled, says she tried to help Grissom. “I’m sad she passed away,” said Ware. “I tried to get her and her son to come over here, but you know people like to stay home.”

Air conditioner theft seems to be a common problem in Oak Cliff. Thieves stole six units from a local church back in April.

Dallas police refuse to comment on the theft of Grissom’s a/c unit, but neighbor, Jesse Terrell, says that type crime happens every summer in the area and he believes the units wind up in local pawnshops.

“You don’t have to walk inside [pawnshops] to ask ‘em if they have them,” said Terrell. “You drive by it and they’re sitting right up front; central air conditioning units and regular window units.”

KRLD NewsRadio 1080 checked with a pawnshop on Corinth and 8th Street and although the store has at least five a/c units available for sale, the owner said he doesn’t deal with the public, and his units only come from demolition and corporate jobs.

Terrell claims that once police even caught some thieves as they carried a stolen unit down the street. DPD officials say there is no new information in the Grissom theft.

Grissom’s death brings the number of heat-related deaths in Dallas County up to 13. Currently, seven others are still under investigation. Tarrant and Collin County have each had one heat-related death.

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