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Piping stolen from Rockland Woods site south of Hagerstown

December 11, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN ? About $13,000 in copper piping was stolen earlier this month from a school construction site just south of Hagerstown.

The equipment was taken from the site of the new Rockland Woods Elementary School in the Westfields housing development Dec. 1 or 2, according to Maryland State Police.

Washington County Public Schools officials say each of the three new school construction sites in the county have experienced theft and vandalism.

Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael said those thefts do not affect the school system's budget for the project.

"People are watching for any and every opportunity to steal metal," Michael said.

Rob Rollins, director of facilities planning and development, said the thefts have not affected the construction schedule for the schools, and all three are expected to open in 2008.

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Michael said the loss is a direct cost to the contractors and the amount budgeted for the construction will not change.

Police said about 90 pieces of 20-foot piping were taken from the Rockland Woods site. More than 2,000 elbows and fittings - all new and in boxes - also were stolen.

The weight of the combined stolen material was about 2,000 pounds.

Michael said some security measures have been put in place to make the construction sites more secure. Temporary doors have been installed, more lights are in place at night and gates are being checked to be sure they are locked, Rollins said.

"We're getting a lot of things now under lock and key," Michael said. "We do everything we can to support any effort to try to avoid theft."

Anyone with information about the incident may call police at 301-739-2101.

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