Copper wire thieves target Central Unified School District

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A local school district is hit with tens of thousands of dollars in damage after copper wire thieves target their offices over the weekend. (KFSN)

A local school district is hit with tens of thousands of dollars in damage after copper wire thieves target their offices over the weekend.

Central Unified's phone system is working thanks to some generators, and some email and internet is back up, but officials said someone went to great lengths to steal thousands of dollars in copper wire.

Maintenance crews braved the rain to repair the damage left behind by the copper wire thief. Central Unified School District's Offices were victim to the crime over the weekend. Officials realized something was awry when the district's substitute calling system went down Saturday night. "We had some problems with our phones, and we had some people trying to call in, indicated they couldn't get through. So that caused us to look further into it," said Kelly Porterfield, Central Unified School District.

The system at Central Unified's main offices provides communication for every school in the district. Once administrators realized they were without power generators were turned on to at least get the phones up and running. "It eliminated the ability to communicate to some of the school sites. We have secondary systems in place but it's extremely disruptive," said Porterfield.

Detectives believe the thief went to great lengths to steal the copper wire, by using a jackhammer to get through five inches of concrete and a safety box to steal approximately 2,300 feet of copper wire. "They took some time to do it, but, he believes they're doing it by hand because the way it was taken. They use a truck sometimes, and they can get all the wire that way, but they did not and they had to cut it off at different ends," said Lt. Joe Gomez, Fresno Police Department.

"It's time and money taken away from kids in the classroom. So we are very interested in identifying and trying to stop this in the future," said Porterfield.

There are a number of surveillance cameras on the property, detectives tell Action News they are reviewing that video and it does appear they can see the suspect at the scene of the crime.

If you have any information you can make an anonymous tip, call 1-800-78 CRIME (27463)
Related Topics:
newscopper wire theftfresno countycentral unified school district
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