Copper Thieves Targeting Schools In San Francisco’s Sunset District

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — San Francisco police are investigating the theft of copper from schools in the city’s Sunset District, including one school that has been hit four times in the past week, police told CBS 5.

The Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, a Chinese immersion public school in the 1500 block of 12th Avenue, had copper pipes stolen from a construction site on campus on four straight days starting Aug. 10, said Capt. Curtis Lum from the department’s Taraval Station.

Lum said in response to the thefts, police have put additional patrols and plainclothes officers in the area. The school also has a security guard, he said.

Police have a description of the suspect, but Lum declined to release it, citing the ongoing investigation.

Lum said another school in the area, the French School at 1201 Ortega Street, was also targeted by copper thieves. An employee at the school reported seeing two men removing copper rain gutters from a campus building on Sunday about 5:30 p.m.

Lum told CBS 5 that it was not clear whether that theft was related to the others. No arrests had been made as of Wednesday in any of the thefts.

“It is unusual that all of a sudden all these schools are getting hit,” he said.

Anyone with information about the thefts was encouraged by Lum to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Crack

    Why are they using copper for rain gutters? Why not PVC or galvanized steel?

    • ejp

      Many times these are older buiilding meant to last forever! Galvanized especially deteriorates in very short times in the heavy salt fog off the pacific

  • Dennis Kimball

    These Copper crimes are so easy to stop. There are only so many recycling stations in the Bay Area. Just fine them for even accepting copper materials that can not be proven are excess or waste from a construction project. Why would people be bringing this stuff to recycle??? Just areest them at the recycling stations and fine the heck out of the recycling companies, and all this nonsense will stop.

    • ejp

      Unfortunately there are contractors and demolition outfits who continually run in to this stuff legitamately in large quantities – how do you differenciate between a legitamate small contractor and a thief with a contractors license?

  • dah

    copper rustling has been around forever stop buying it at ridiculous prices and the crime will stop

  • Michael Aschoff

    Illegal immigration brought his kind of activity to California … never used to happen.

    • mechanic

      You are soooo right, Michael. Lots of this thievery is related to the financing of criminal gang activity. Copper drains and gutters are super expensive to buy for installation; schools should be pinching (copper?) pennies just like the rest of us.
      Instead of a slap on the wrist that is usually given to these criminals; they should get 10+ years in prison, then immediate deportation back to where they came from
      (illegally, I might add).

  • Gov. Brown

    No fan of Illegal’s they suck, but it is crankes/meth heads that do this all the time. They should also get credit.

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