Published: Apr 13, 2011 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 12, 2011 9:57 PM EDT

Last year, construction crews started rebuilding the meadow park elementary school in Port Charlotte. The old School that was built in the 1970's is being replaced.

"There were a lot of electrical and structural issues with it it was not up to hurricane standards." Said Mike Riley, Spokesman for the Charlotte county School District.


But on Friday, the unthinkable happened when thieves broke into the new building to steal copper wire.

"Somebody had gotten in to the place and stole 2000 dollars worth of brand new copper that was already wired into the boxes" Said Bob Carpenter of the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office. In the process of stealing the wire, thieves also left behind a wake of destruction. According to Sheriffs office reports, the thieves did over eight thousand dollars worth of damage to the new School just trying to extract the wire.


Officials with the Sheriffs Office say these kind of copper thefts are on the rise. According to Carpenter, the frequency of incidents reported have a lot to do with the market value of semi precious metals.

"Its because right now the commodity copper has gone up every time it goes up so does the stealing of copper."


As if the theft isn't bad enough, Riley is quick to point out, these thieves are stealing from the children: "Its disheartening to think that someone would go into a public school and take away from what would benefit children in the long run."


Officials say that the thief did leave behind fingerprints and some blood that was collected for D.N.A. testing. Workers on the scene also reported that the same day, a white male in his 30's or 40's with dark thinning hair was escorted off the property. Deputies are looking for that man for questioning.