Copper thieves wreck school air system in Hamilton

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Public school officials in Chattanooga say thieves did up to $20,000 in damage in stealing perhaps $50 worth of copper tubing from an elementary school air conditioner.

As a result, East Lake Elementary School is dismissing at 12:30 p.m. until parts can be shipped in and the unit repaired. More than 400 students attend the school and Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith said pupils will be sent home before the hottest part of the day for the foreseeable future, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press (

When students showed up for the first day of school on Wednesday, the air conditioner wouldn't work and maintenance workers found the tubing had been cut from the chiller. Fans are being used to circulate air.


(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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