Archived Story

Theft investigation continues; detectives following up on tip

Published 9:51am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CHESAPEAKE — Authorities continue to gather evidence and check scrap yards in search of leads in the theft of copper from a construction site at the Chesapeake High School.

“It is still being worked on,” Sheriff Jeff Lawless said. “There is nothing really new to report just yet. We had a pretty decent tip that may pan out, but I can’t comment on just yet.”

This past weekend construction crews found copper piping missing from the building that would house public restrooms, locker rooms for visiting teams and the concession stand at the athletic complex being built on the campus.

Detectives from Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office have been studying surveillance video to determine who has been going onto the site. They have also canvassed scrap dealers in the Tri-State and beyond to see if large quantities of the metal have been brought in.

Lawless said these kinds of thefts are back on the rise with the recent increase in the price of metal.

School officials plan to meet this week with the contractor to determine the exact amount of the theft and damage to property, according to Superintendent Jerry McConnell.

More than a year ago, the school district’s board of education decided to demolish the aging football stadium at the high school replacing it with a $3 million modern football-soccer-track complex. School officials wanted to have the complex ready by spring for this year’s track meet and were basically on target.

McConnell decried the theft, saying it was taking from students and the community that has supported building the complex.

“We took as many precautions as we could and now we are going to accumulate as much evidence,” McConnell said. “We are trying to put together a group that would discuss our options. We are gathering evidence and putting together some ideas on how we might we respond in the future who has come upon the property.

“I am not giving up on the fact we might find out who did this.”

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