Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 14, 2014

Copper pipe stolen from Athens School

ATHENS — Police say someone gained entry to Athens Elementary and stole more than 50 feet of copper pipe connected to the school’s boiler system.

The damage was found Friday by school officials who were doing regular summer maintenance at the school, Senior Deputy D.A. Furches of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

Furches said damage to the school is estimated at about $2,000. He said the copper theft occurred sometime over the past month. Police have no suspects at this time.

The copper pipes were connected to the school’s boiler system.

“They (school maintenance officials) did assess the boiler of the entire system, and there was no actual damage to the boiler itself,” Rick Ball, assistant superintendent for elementary education, said. “It (the damage) is limited to two copper pipes. They were cut with a saw, and the copper was taken.”

Ball said a fire extinguisher also was stolen from the school.

School is out. As a result, the theft will have no impact on the facility operations at this time, Ball said.

Furches said the incident is the first report of a copper theft from an actual school in operation. He said copper had been previously stolen from the old Bramwell school, which has been closed for several years now.

Furches said the investigation will probably be taken over by the Athens Police Department since the school is located in the municipal limits of Athens.

However, for now, anyone with information regarding the Athens crime is asked to contact the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 304-487-8364.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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