Copper Wire Crooks Knock Out Power To Clovis Classrooms

"People have to pay for it; taxpayers have to pay for it. It's a few dollars for them. And it's a lot more money for us," Jacqueline McCalister said.

McCalister's four-year-old son, Ian, goes to Dry Creek elementary in Clovis.

Since the first day of school, students there have seen their fair share of disruptions.

"The amount the copper wire is worth is so small, compared to the damage that they do," McCalister said.

"We arrived this morning to find that copper wire thieves have visited Dry Creek again; about the fourth time in the last five weeks or so," Robert Hansen, Dry Creek Principal, said.

School officials tell KMPH News crooks used bolt cutters to cut through the lock and get into the area where the electrical panels are.

They then took the copper wire from those panels, which cut electricity to four classrooms and impacted more than 100 students.

"No lights, no electricity, no air conditioning, no phones," Hansen said.

Because there was no electricity and air conditioning, the kids that were in those portable classrooms had to be relocated.

Some went to the old cafeteria to have class, while others went to empty classrooms as the district fixed the problem.

"I think their take from the last theft was probably about $200, but the cost to repair it is probably in the order of $1,000 or more for Clovis Unified," Hansen said. "Unfortunately they've gotten really good at dealing with this problem. We've had a lot of experience."

Principal Hansen says the district has already made changes to protect the school from copper wire thieves and each time, the crooks, have gotten away with less.

And moms like Jacqueline McCalister hope this hit was their last.

"I think the people that do that, they just don't have a lot of scruples," McCalister said.

School officials say, in addition to other changes made, they've hired people to come out at night and guard the school against potential copper thieves.