Thieves steal cooper valves at SoCal school

May 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thieves stole copper plumbing valves and piping at the main water service line to an El Sereno Elementary School, which was without water today as a result, authorities said. Crews were on hand Monday morning to restore and repair copper plumbing valves and the piping for the main water service line to El Sereno Elementary School.

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Hundreds of school children were initially affected by the loss of water.

The school has stored water barrels for emergencies and that is what they are using for drinking water and to flush the toilets.

There is currently enough water for the kids and staff members to use.

Officials say that the thieves apparently knew what they were doing.

Thieves stole the above-ground copper valve system that is used to shut off water to the campus.

The school principal told Eyewitness News that the thieves were in a white van Sunday afternoon outside the school.

Neighbors thought that it was a district crew doing maintenance work.

"This is where one side of the main valve is and we know this because we use this during an emergency drill. Here is the other end of it that they cut. They cut it out of the ground at this end," said Principal Beth Bythrow.

"The other part of it if you can imagine is a whole large system, probably about my height, was all the way to here. They cut it at the end. They couldn't take the big valves off. Basically because there were no gates were open, no locks were cut, no chains were cut, they just dragged it underneath the fence. They probably did it when it got dark," Bythrow said.

The crew estimates that all the repairs will finished by late Monday afternoon. It will be a temporary fix.

A investigation is now underway into the school theft.


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