Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Schools targeted! Thieves swipe tens of thousands of dollars in copper wiring from Anne Arundel County schools. It’s all part of a growing problem in our area.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this latest heist.
WJZ has been investigating copper thefts for months. Schools are the latest victim.
The Friday night lights may not be shining at several Anne Arundel County schools. Thieves shimmied up high in the air to rip the copper wiring out of stadium lights at North County, Old Mill and Broadneck High Schools.
It doesn’t stop there.
Thieves also stole copper from mobile classrooms at Shipley’s Choice and High Point Elementary Schools, leaving the school system in the lurch.
“We’re working hard to replace it so that students can take part in athletic activities,” said Maneka Monk, spokesperson for Anne Arundel County Schools.
Between the five schools, $20,000 was done in damage.
Copper theft has become a huge problem in the state of Maryland with more than 400 people arrested in the past two years.
A WJZ investigation uncovered how brazen thieves can be. Surveillance video shows two men ripping down copper gutters outside a Maryland home. Last month, four employees were charged with stealing more than $80,000 in copper from the Aberdeen Proving Ground and in May, a copper theft suspect had a four-hour standoff with police inside an abandoned hospital building.
The problem is so pervasive Baltimore County has formed a metal theft task force.
“The number of metal thefts have more than tripled since 2009,” said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson during a May 19 news conference.
As for the school theft, police are reviewing surveillance tapes, hoping to shine a light on these bold bandits.
The school thefts happened between July 7 and July 23. Old Mill High School was hit twice.
The school system has ordered replacement stadium lights. They hope to have them installed before the first games of the school year.