Pulling wire

By By Ana Breton and By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

More than $9,000 worth of wiring has been stolen from the construction site near the Marriott Library during the last two months, prompting the U Police Department to ignite a search surrounding a community church.

Toward the beginning of this month, Preston Shepard, construction superintendent with Oakland (the company responsible for the library renovation) noticed several hundred feet of cable missing from the ground floor of the construction site.

The theft, which occurred between 11 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 2, concerned 400 feet of three-ought copper wire sheathed in blue, black and green plastic used for welding leads on the construction site.

When the campus police arrived several hours later that same day, they were able to track the thief’s path by tracks made in the snow.

The path, left by a cart U police speculate was used to haul the wire, led officers from the south ground area of the construction site to the east end of the Social and Behavioral Science Building. Then, the trail continued southbound on 400 South to the north sidewalk on 900 East.

Finally, it led officers northbound on 900 East to the west-side parking lot of Paul’s Episcopal Church.

When the police officers entered the church, they noticed mattresses on the floor. Church employees told police they were hosting homeless people as part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network.

Neither the wire nor a suspect was found.

Ten days later, however, 400 feet of copper wiring was taken from the third floor of the library construction site. Since then, more wire has been stolen at least three times per week, Shepard said.

An odd occurrence, he said, because the materials are stored in different rooms every night, which are completely secure.

“It’s never in the same place twice,” he said. “But it still manages to disappear.”

Although a suspect has not been identified, Shepard said it must be someone who knows the construction site fairly well.

“It has to be someone who has or had access to the building,” he said. “Or just knows it inside and out.”

The robbery is still under investigation. Any one with information should contact the U Police at 585-2677.

“It’s a huge loss,” Shepard said. “Not to the library, but to the construction company’s budget.”