Elderly Woman Dies From Heat After A/C Stolen

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.

  • Concern

    Cents for the Elderly

    • Bubba Jones

      If they ever catch the theif (s), then those caught should be brought up for charges along the lines of manslaughter, as a death resulted from their actions.

      The death was a direct result of the AC unit being stolen.

      • teaisstronger


        That illegal came here for a better life and its just that there are no jobs. That illegal alien needs money to live on and to send back to Mexico. If the Debt Ceiling Bill had Amnesty hidden somewhere in it the air conditioner would still be in that dead lady’s window and that illegal alien would be receiving welfare, housing, and food stamps. It just not their fault.

      • Me

        Not sure why you think she’s an illegal…while based on statistics, 1/3 of Hispanics in the US are illegals, the others are here legally (albeit some via the previous amnesty under Regan). Still, a theft is a theft….the one who stole it should be brought to justice (not sure how they could charge them with involuntary manslaughter though).

      • FWZ

        teaisstronger, wow… So if I stole an A/C unit and someone died that means you think I should get away with it? Despicable. If someone kills someone, even indirectly, they should be punished for the crime. It’s not hard to get food stamps you know. Maybe you should read up on how those work sometime… :|

      • Montford John Greenwood

        Why? Because she couldn’t drink water.

      • drjoe

        To those responding to tealsstronger…i think it’s called sarcasm.

    • Pete

      From wikipedia on Oak Cliff, TX :

      Oak Cliff was predominantly white. Many neighborhoods in the Oak Cliff area, especially the most southern portions, were targeted for desegregation. As was typical of desegregation in the South, many all-white neighborhoods transitioned to African-American And Hispanic neighborhoods due to both black and white migration:

      • Richard

        Used to be mostly white, quite a long time ago. Now South Dallas is pretty much the most ghetto part of the area.

  • YRofTexas

    I am bothered by this statement:

    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.”

    The son lived with this elderly lady. The neighbor offered to help. Either the son or his mother or both made the decision to turn down this good neighbor.

    This was a decision they made, and it cost a life!

    With such a strong history of theft in this neighborhood, these a/c units, despite the lock and cage continue to be stolen. Since it would be impractical to install central heat & air in all of these older homes, what can be done?

    Special vouchers & volunteers to put in central air & heat (per home)?
    Camera’s set up?
    More police WALKING and making their presence known every hour?
    More intense lock up of the units?
    Alarms set up on the cages to alert neighbors of tampering?
    Installation of those split wall-mounted air conditioner units shown on HGTV?

    Unit fans just don’t work by themselves! Ice, cold drinks, spray mister with ice water helps.

    I just don’t know what would have worked to help this lady. I so wish that they would have accepted that neighbor’s offer! This tragedy could have been averted!

    • Dave H

      As you know, or should, as a fellow Texan, if a person dies as the result of someone else committing a crime, the person that committed a crime is guilty of capitol murder. This should be investigated by the PD up in the Dallas area as a murder, and prosecuted as such.

      • Born in Texas

        Dave H wrote:
        “This should be investigated by the PD up in the Dallas area as a murder, and prosecuted as such.”

        Absolutely. It’s like stealing a stop sign.

    • John

      Authorizing residents to shoot A/C thieves if they try to carry the unit off their property? Almost all ciriminals have said that they wouldn’t have committed their crime if their victims hadn’t been able to defend themselves. Time to get society to stand up for themselves, stand against evil, and disuade these thugs from taking whatever they feel like taking.

      • Jahnke

        You can shoot the thieves. Castle law.

        If you think this way, then make sure you don’t vote for Obama, that traitor is trying hard to subject us to UN gun control. That is against the Constitution of the United States of America.


      • teaisstronger


        That women did not die in vain. Her AC provided a job for that illegal alien who transported the AC unit to Mexico where he installed it in the home of a rich Mexican. Her death provided shovel ready jobs for the people at the cemetery and work for the funeral home. .

      • Me

        Different states have different laws, but I think some states allow you to protect your property from theft with deadly force, but I know most don’t. I’m not sure what Texas’ law is…will have to research. Usually, the use of deadly force requires proof that you or someone else was in danger of loss of life or limb before it’s considered lawful. In other words, most states will allow a criminal to walk off with your property, even though you have a gun trained on them (or you can convince a jury that they were threatening you).

    • GodFear

      Just so you know, drinking ICE cold water or drinks actually causes the body to burn more energy warming the drink to body temp so it can digest it.

      Also everyone on the planet is going to die…. some day. The how, when, time is in God’s hands should you like that fact or not.

      • swissman

        Godfear, not only are you stupid but you must be mentally ill. God gave us life but death is not taken arbitrarily but follows the course of the laws of the universe(also created by God). Thiose who are so uncaring as to steal from others and in which a death results as the result of their actions should receive speedy and harsh punishment as allowed by law

      • NiteNurse

        I so hate all you bible thumper who say God is just gonna take us all so get ready. Why care then? If God is just gonna take us then why care about your neighbor or about being a good person because unless you are saved God is just gonna put you in hell! YOU KNOW WHAT I CARE BECAUSE IT’S THE GOOD AND MORAL THING TO DO, NOT BECAUSE GOD WANTS ME TO OR BECAUSE I MIGHT GO TO HEAVEN! THIS WOMAN DIED BECAUSE GOD FEARING PEOPLE DID NOT CARE!

      • Hannah

        NiteNurse – what on earth R U talking about? The article specifically stated that a disabled kindly neighbor offered help, she invited the elderly women and her son to stay at her home. The help was not accepted. Seems to me God sent a savior, an answer, aid and help in the form of her neighbor, and the aid, help and savior was told no thanks – the very thing you are saying to a savior who wants to aid, help and save you – he is inviting you to come live with him – his name is Jesus. Not to be disrespectful or flippant, but Jesus Christ is the ultimate air conditioner – you certainly won’t burn or be scorched in hell living with him. You just have to accept his invitation.

      • jenb

        NiteNurse, how can you go from hating bible thumpers in one sentence then go on to talk about good and moral in the next breath? Kind of invalidates anything you have to say.

        Why all the hate towards bible thumpers? If the words of a bible thumper make you hate that much, maybe you should seek help to deal with that. It doesn’t seem healthy. This hating of bible thumpers seems rather irrational.

      • drjoe

        They aren’t posting my replies for some reason, but I’ll try again.
        To ryoftexas. Look at the picture: This IS a central air conditioning unit. Duuuhhh.

      • Atheist

        God is not a fact. Get the facts straight.

      • TheDieHard

        You’re a moron and have no clue wha you’re taking about, but that’s to be exected of religio-whackos.

    • jslab

      YRofTexas , seems like you’re blaming the victim. Other people blaming bible thumpers and God. When actually the f@cking thieves are to blame.

      • Ken

        didnt seem that way to me. anyway, th esecond half of the post had some good suggestions. I think that police walking around would really be good. Not only could neighbors and the police actually begin to know one another, but thieves would know that police wouldn’t just be flying through neighborhoods; rather they would be able to scrutinize a neighborhood better. However, I don’t know if there are enough police to do that, unless you had them just police their own neighborhoods. There are usually 1-3 officers in neighborhoods in austin. Better yet put em on bicycles.

    • brian

      hows about less money to govt, more money in the hands of the people. we cannot wipe our ass without having to pull a permit and giving the federal(nazi) govt their share.when the wealth is distributed to the neighborhoods and neighbors im sure they would have a collective pool to help those in need. people are generally good intentioned and are more than willing to help one another out, but, when nobody has any money there isn’t much any neighborhood can do. there is something wrong when .05% of the population have all the money. i can assure you those with the money have ABSOLUTELY NO desire to help anybody else but themselves and possibly their families

      • Jahnke


        Stop letting these criminals out of jail, too. Only a petulant liberal fool cries about us building more jails. Build more and more until all of these worthless sub-humans are locked up where they belong.

    • The Die Hard

      The problem is that police are worthless. I’ve never seen the police prevent a crime. All they do is sit around in their air conditioned cars, burning gas and waitng to give someone a ticket.

      Cutting open a cage and carting off an a/c unit would have made enough noise to wake everyone for half a mile around. So what is actually wrongwith this picture?

  • Patriotic Girl

    Well if these thieves get caught, and I hope they do, they should be charged with murder.

    • zone

      I agree

    • El Gato

      Actions regardless of human life are HOMICIDE if someone dies because of them.

    • GodFear

      I don’t know if murder is in order, I’m sure they didn’t intend to kill anyone… Maybe involuntary or something, but i surely wouldn’t try to give them death sentence…

      • Stuart Pfeifer and P.J. Huffstutter

        “I don’t know if murder is in order, I’m sure they didn’t intend to kill anyone…”

        Drunks who hit people head-on never intended to kill anyone either.

    • Dumpsterjuice

      Thats what I was going to say, murder.

    • brian

      uhhhh, no they shouldnt. they didnt MURDER anyone. they stole. thats the same type of mentality that suggests cop killers need harsher punishments. murder is murder. it doesn’t matter who you kill

  • toro

    Rotten thieves—-no A/C units to steal when in Hell.

    • Hannah

      Exactly. I had not read this comment yet when I responded to NITENURSE who was blaming God and Bible thumpers. If the elderly women knew Jesus then she is in a better place. Pray for her son, he has just had a great loss and probably feels somewhat responsible whether this be true or not-elderly people can be very stubborn; he needs love and encouragement right now. Jesus said “Come unto me all you who are heavy laden (burdened) and I will give you rest” and “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

  • Rodrick Williams

    How come you never hear of these crimes in areas such as University Park, Preston Hollow, or Highland Park it seems to always be in areas like Oak Cliff, Red Bird, East Dallas and areas like that. Sad that people have to steal from elderly people and especially churches. If people want stereotypes to be broken certain stigmas associated with certain areas of town maybe people should take charge of this issue and make a change in their neighborhoods. Getting your A/C stolen 3 or more times is crazy and not taking help because you are to proud and want to stay in your own space and not “change” is stupid. I lived in South Dallas for 2 years after the house beside me and across the street got robbed and my 06′ Dodge Ram got stolen and the neighbors Caddy got stolen we decided to start a neighborhood watch, and also decided 5 months later to rent out the house and move. Its all about decisions and the willingness to make a change that will help your community and lift bad stigmas associated with the problem areas and the people who live in them. Make a difference and make smarter choices thats all, maybe these neighborhoods should start a crime watch that would help control the crime rate.

    • YRofTexas

      @ Rodrick – GREAT suggestion…a neighborhood watch. Get to know your neighbors, know their vehicles, know their habits! When someone is there who doesn’t belong, then 9-1-1, take pictures, note license plate numbers & descriptions. Yes, that I should have added to my list, but Rodrick, you explained it very well, so thanks!
      The neighborhood of my parents is similar, in that, it has a history of transient people renting homes, and a half-way house that was next door to my folks. I understood later that there were sex-offenders living there, too. But, as luck would have it, the new owner stopped making payments to the city for a much needed ‘clean up’, and the city levied fines, then just came in an bulldozed it. Now it is a nice empty lot. Crimes went down. No wonder.

    • NiteNurse

      Ever hear of Bernie Madoff??? He lived in Manhattan!

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/08/elderly-woman-dies-from-heat-after-ac-stolen-2/ Elderly Woman Dies From Heat After A/C Stolen — Me and the Chicks

    […] her home just two days after reporting to police that her central air conditioner had been stolen. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • dawnssister

    God rest her soul and may He have mercy on the thief. I’m sure that he is in his own personal hell.

    • GodFear

      So true. Mercy on the son… As for this thief, what level of desperation are you at to go out and steal a/c units…

      • John

        No reason to ponder the level of desperation. Plenty of alternatives, opportunity is all around us. Stealing something from someone else is never acceptable, which is why it’s against the law.

      • El Gato

        For the copper.

  • Ryan Mouk

    The cowards that committed this crime should be charged with murder, placed in a metal box, and thrown into the Arizona desert until they understand what that poor women went through. Cowards.

  • Anonymous

    I just read this same exact story on Google News??


    I am with Patriot girl, charge them with murder or accessary to murder or anything and everything they can be charged with. Then call the EPA, just the fact these crack heads release the freon into the atmoshere should have neighbors watching, I think the EPA rewards people with a large amount of money for the report of “freon venting”. The EPA will get a conviction that a jury of peers could possibly mess up. I feel for this ladies family and for her son, next time you are offered help take it, especially if it is a neighbor.

  • goldshadow

    I don’t believe thieves have a conscience. Also, the person most likely doesn’t know he killed someone because that sort only laughs & goes on with the drugs & party time. Would never bother to read a newspaper or listen to the news on TV. Probably watching cartoons!

    • El Gato

      Neglilgent Homicide.

  • Hako

    Why do pawn shops continue to get away with fencing stolen goods? Our local sheriff told us there was nothing could do if our stolen items turned up in the pawn shop around the corner…….except politely ask for them back. He would be under no obligation to return them, even if we identified them, and law enforcement can do nothing. I was astonished by his statements. I live in California, but now wonder if the problems with pawn shops fencing stolen goods in wide-spread. We need new legislation, because the criminals will continue to steal as long as the pawn shops are buying the stuff.

    • GodFear

      That’s because you live in a wacky liberal state! People are not crazy nut jobs everywhere just in CA and the north Yankee states ;)

      In Texas if your stuff shows up at a pawn shop the police will investigate the pawn shop to see if they are apart some crime ring… Thieves in Texas know they can’t sell at pawnshops … pawn shops just won’t take it if they even think it might be stolen.

      • Scott Wyckoff

        Why doesn’t Texas hurry-up and secede so we can include a more deserving 50th state.

      • NiteNurse

        You know I’m pretty sure they aren’t pawnng that AC unit because they aren’t worth very much. They are either using it themselves or selling it to a friend who wants it. GodFear are you really that stupid?

  • Crim Cram

    The neighbor stole it! That’s why she’s got AC now.

    • voice o reason

      And you think this is funny? People like you are the reason the world is the way it is.

      • Crim Cram


  • J. Letoneau

    Our firm was involved with a small office building that had four outside A/C units stolen. When being replaced I asked the installer what should we do to protect from future thefts. He advised the best solution is to paint or spray paint your name or some identifying name across the louvers. He advised that the thieves could not sell to contractors or other commercial interests a unit with a name on it and most likely would just look for unmarked units to steal. We sprayed a name across the louvers of the new units and they are still in place after a couple of years.

    • Rick O'hea

      Then they would just steal the copper and leae the rest.

  • dave

    you mean to tell me the cops could not get someone to donate or lean a window unit, at the least some fans??????

  • El Gato

    Don’t these things have serial numbers?

    • NiteNurse

      They aren’t cars silly, these window units cost between 100 to 200 bucks but they are vital to folks who need them.

      • Cindy

        Uhhh….NiteNurse, didn’t you read the story? It was a central a/c unti not a window unit.

  • Big Vic

    Sounds like they should of moved 2 years ago. Perhaps this could of been avoided?

    • rubbercow

      Why should they have to move? Why not demand better of your neighborhood? I think that extremely harsh punishments for anybody and everybody who steals and/or sells stolen goods would go a long way in stopping it. I can’t help but think of the moron who was electrocuted a couple of years while trying to steal a transformer – electrocuted to death sounds about fair to me.

  • Steve Hollar

    I hope they find the sub-human maggots who stole that unit and convict them of murder. This has to stop. Harsh punishment is the only answer.

  • TxnByBrth

    Seems to me she is a murder victim…simply put.

  • jj

    What kind of son lets his elderly mother sit in that kind of heat!? The thieves should be charged with murder, but the son should be charged with something as well. Decent people don’t let their elderly parents suffer like that! Pathetic son!

    • Cindy

      You are exactly right jjj. What kind of son lets his elderly mom stay in a hot house! He should have taken action right away to get her out of there! Very pathetic son!

  • Jay Peterman

    @Godfear- Your posts reak of sympathy for this petty murderer. YES, I SAID MURDERER. BECAUSE IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE C OMMON SENSE TO KNOW WHAT HEAT CAN DO TO A 79 YEAR OLD BODY. You are a complete idiot. These thieves need to be shot on the spot. “HE DIDN’T INTEND TO MURDER HER” WAH WAH WAH. Intention or not, anyone with a little 5th grade science knowledge knows could happen. Yet it was stolen anyway. Shame on you. God loves everyone, but God also knows we must punish others for their crimes while we co-habit this planet

  • http://www.city-data.com/forum/dallas/702692-its-hot-78.html#post20319902 Its HOT - Page 78 - City-Data Forum

    […] […]

  • Theresa Morales

    Thats such a shame this happened to this lady

  • joinamerica

    My area isn’t nearly as hot as Texas, but I use a Sharp portable air conditioner (bought used on craigslist for $300) that has a vent that sits in my slightly open window. And it keeps my bedroom habitable and the electricity cost is a fraction of central air conditioning. Also, we put that sun protecting transparent cover on all our back windows and that did a great job keeping those rooms cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. We put the covering on by ourselves and the cost of the material was under $100, we bought it from Home Depot. I’m just mentioning this for those folks who can’t afford central air conditioning.

    As for those sob/animals who stole that poor woman’s air conditioning system, may they rot in hell for such a selfish act. In the meantime, if we catch them, can they be tried for murder? I think the police should demand that any local pawn shop produce all records proving where and from whom their air conditioning systems were purchased.

    What has our society come to? And yes, homeowners should be free to shoot them on sight.

  • Capt. Ball

    Accuse me but your cops can’t catch this group? You need to fire them and get new ones.

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