One kindergarten class at Modesto’s Empire Elementary was left without heat as kids returned from winter break Monday because of copper thieves.
“(It was) about 34 degrees. That’s pretty cold. The teacher was pretty upset,” said maintenance man Paul Sollitt.
Copper wire had been stripped from three heating and air conditioning units. To stay warm, students wore jackets and teachers brought in portable space heaters.
The street value of the stolen metal is not nearly as much as the cost of the damage done.
“They probably got $75-worth of copper. So, for $75-worth of copper, they did $15,000 worth of damage,” Sollitt said.
Empire Principal Nancy Fox told FOX40 it was hard to explain to the students what happened, but that there was a lesson to be learned.
“(Students) can learn that taking something that doesn’t belong to them can impact others and how it can inconvenience or offend or hurt. It has an impact,” Fox said.
A temporary fix is in place until the units can be fully repaired.
Kai Beech filed this report.