Metal thieves hit Clovis North High School

FRESNO, Calif. At dusk the courts are usually filled with tennis players. Now a sign greets them saying at dark the courts are off limits. It will be close to two thousand dollars to repair the damages and get the lights back on.

Thieves served up a surprise at Clovis North, leaving tennis players in the dark. The school principal believes based on what tennis players have reported the thieves hit the courts between Saturday night and Sunday.

Clovis North Principal, Norm Anderson said, "You would hope that people wouldn't be vandalizing schools in any fashion whether it's tennis courts or graffiti. So we were pretty shocked."

12 courts will now be blacked out for at least another week.

At Bruno's Recycling managers have taken note of the rising metal and copper values and the customers coming to cash out the commodities. Last month copper prices peaked at the highest it's been in 15 months.

Rick White said, "On the open market two weeks ago stripped bare wire would go for $3.00 and 40 probably 50 cents a pound."

Fresno County Sheriff's investigators are trying to find out who is responsible for one of the largest recent copper wire thefts ... amounting to hundreds of thousands in losses.

Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "In the last month, we've had one cotton gin that was the victim of a grand theft of copper wire where more than $200 thousand was stolen."

Last week Fresno city workers discovered all of the copper wire that powered lights and facilities at Granite Park had also been stripped.

The net loss at Clovis North is just over $16 hundred. That will replace the 15-hundred feet of wire stolen. The principal doesn't plan to make any drastic changes, but he is hoping more people will help police the campus after hours.

"I don't really have any plans to lock the gates and prevent adults and kids from enjoying the tennis courts or our facilities um but we'll definitely be more aware. Our community is aware now," said Anderson.

Fresno Police are investigating this copper wire theft. Metal recyclers say tougher laws that require identification and thumb prints have slowed the problem ... but it's still prevalent.

Maintenance crews are hoping to have the lights restored by next Friday.

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