Copper thieves strike Clermont Middle School


LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Copper thieves have struck at a Lake County Middle School, leaving some student athletes in the dark.

Youth football will soon be underway, and normally fans could check out games both day and night. But because of the thieves, it's now lights out.

"Here you have kids and adults in the community trying to do something to make a difference with our youth and then somebody does things like this," said Lt. Michael Macmaster of Clermont police.

Police said thieves crept in and stole copper wires sometime over the past few weeks at a football field at Clermont Middle School.

"Some unknown person cut open the fuse panel box that activates all the light for the fields and removed somewhere between 500 and 1,000 feet of copper wire," Macmaster said.

Police say whoever committed this crime knew exactly what they were doing.

Cops said stealing copper wires is dangerous and people who don't know what they're doing could be electrocuted.

The thieves cut the power before removing the wiring.

Investigators say this case is challenging.

"The gauge and type of copper is unknown, which are two of the biggest pieces of information," Macmaster said.

If they had that information, investigators could run it through a database, and possibly track the copper.

They're also having a tough time narrowing down the exact time it happened.

Police said in order to repair the lights, it's going to cost around $8,000.

It is unknown how the theft will affect the youth football league's schedule.

Investigators said the league has insurance.