Copper thieves cause half million dollars in damage to local school district -

Copper thieves cause half million dollars in damage to local school district

(KMOV) -- Thieves hit a school, causing a half-million dollars in damage.  Now, the Jennings School District is finding out that it has to replace every air conditioner at the junior high before springtime.

Neighbors say they find it awfully fishy that they discovered their stolen ladder propped up against the back end of the school building, giving thieves easy access to the school's roof.

"My dad went ahead and chained up the ladder just so that no one could take them anymore," Megan Kinealy, who lives next door, said.  "We don't want to be supplying robbers."

Police say it likely took weeks to pull off this rooftop rip-off.  Thieves stripped 23 air conditioning units of the costly copper coil, leaving a half-million dollars in damage to Jennings Junior High School.  It seems that the only one who saw anything was the neighbor's dog.

"There's been a couple of times where when my brother is already home and everybody is home and he's been barking at something, but we couldn't see anything," Kinealy said.  "Nobody thought to look up."

A maintenance man discovered the dismantled units late last week.  The air conditioners are still visible, but they're not worth anything now.  Police think the thefts happened sometime this month, and there is concern that it could easily happen again.  Police are now patrolling nearby schools and area businesses.

A school board member tells me she's outraged, and in a statement the district says it's a devastating blow.

"To find out that they're doing it at a school -- I work at a school, I'm going to school to be a teacher -- so it's just sad because you're taking away from kids at school," Kinealy said.

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