Administrators at a Wildomar elementary school were taking steps Friday to get the air conditioning system functioning again after thieves stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of tubing needed to make it work.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, staff at William Collier Elementary School in the 20000 block of Mayhall Drive discovered Thursday that some copper had been taken from their rooftop units as they were looking into a leak.
"The copper tubing stolen was almost 2,000 feet in length and was believed to have been taken over the Memorial Day weekend," said sheriff's Sgt. Steve Brosche in a statement.
The theft resulted in roughly $80,000 in damage, according to Brosche.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the school had an auxiliary system running to keep the facility cool.
Sheriff's deputies were asking anyone with information to contact the sheriff's Wildomar station at (951) 245-3343.
In recent years, thieves have targeted fire hydrants, manhole covers, underground street light connections, backflow valves and other devices to steal brass and copper fittings to sell to scrap metal dealers for quick cash.
Repair costs are often several times more expensive than the value that thieves get for the stolen metal.
A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, proposes to establish a statewide Metal Theft Task Force, which would bolster efforts to crack down on metals-related crime, mainly by ensuring that local jurisdictions have sufficient funds for anti-theft operations and enforcement. The legislation, AB 2313, is currently under review by the state Senate.
– City News Service contributed to this report.