Wiring and pipes stripped from vacant school in Pontiac - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Wiring and pipes stripped from vacant school in Pontiac

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Copper wiring and galvanized pipes were stripped from Bethune Elementary in Pontiac. Copper wiring and galvanized pipes were stripped from Bethune Elementary in Pontiac.
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) -

Bethune Elementary in Pontiac is currently not in use and is secured, but it wasn't enough to stop scrappers that caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Sometime over the holiday weekend, thieves managed to get inside and strip the school of much of its copper wiring, galvanized pipes and even the toilet fixtures in the bathrooms.

"It is pretty secure, but where there's a will, there's a way, and once the power was cut, we kind of lost our alarm system," said Michael Kazyak, the interim chief of security for Pontiac Schools.

Security officials said these guys knew what they were doing, clearing out an electrical box outside and cutting off the power killing the security cameras.

Investigators said power to the building had been cut on March 26, so a battery-operated alarm system was set up instead, but it never went off.

According to investigators, the thieves managed to pry open a couple of doors.  The main power lines for the school are gone, along with much of the smaller wiring inside the school.  Every fuse panel in the building had the wires cut to it and out of it.  The battery for the alarm system had also been cut out and removed.  To do this much damage, the thieves had to have been in there for hours and possibly used generators to see what they were doing.

"Our main concern is to get the building re-secured, get it moving so that we can keep the bad guys out of it and get done what we have to do," Kazyak said.

Kazyak said they are implementing alternate ways to secure the building.

"It's a beautiful building, and it's one that we can still use as a school, so we just have to make sure the damage that's done is done and that there is no more damage," said Kazyak.

Investigators dusted for fingerprints and will send the results to the crime lab.  In the meantime, anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.  There is a cash reward, and you can remain anonymous.

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