Metal theft hits Fresno non-profit group

September 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Metal thieves disrupted service at a local non-profit which serves children with special needs and their families.

As a result, the kids and their parents were forced to miss their regular session on Monday at Exceptional Parents Unlimited on first street in Northeast Fresno.

Brass water valves were taken from outside the building which houses Exceptional Parents Unlimited. Kids programs could take a hit because EPU now must fork out thousands in repair work.

Each week Exceptional Parents Unlimited assists over 800 families whose kids are mentally challenged or disabled. But all of the play areas on Monday were quiet. EPU Executive Director Marion Karian says none of the families could be brought in for their regular sessions.

"Normally the room would be filled with children and parents. The children would be playing," Karian said.

But over the weekend thieves made off with metal valves located outside the building leaving EPU without water. A week ago thieves ripped out another valve which caused the agency to close a restroom. Now a portable restroom has been placed on site for workers to use.

"Very frustrating because I take it personal because I feel violated. They're coming messing with our building. It's affecting everyone. We have 100 women and we have the children and they need the bathrooms and we need water just for drinking too," maintenance specialist Ruben Tapia said.

Karian says it is going to cost EPU $7 thousand to $8 thousand to not only to replace the valves but to also fence them in with a cage.

"It's very disheartening because this is a negative impact on us, on what are some very positive and important services for families," Karian said.

The thefts are just the latest incidents to plague EPU. A week ago someone threw a rock through an office window. Thieves have also siphoned gas from the agency's vans on several occasions.

EPU has ten vans which it uses to pick up families from around the Valley. Children's services won't resume until plumbers can repair the water valves.


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