EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) –A Eugene Head Start program is one of the latest targets in a string of metal thefts. Now employees are trying to clean up at least $50,000 in damage. Sunday afternoon, a staff member went to the Fairfield Head Start Center to catch up on work
. Shesaw what she first thought was a plumbing issue, only to discover the entire building was flooded. Thieves targeted an outdoor spigot that's used to attach a hose because the spigot is made of copper. They ripped the pipe completely out of the wall, causing flooding throughout.
All classes have been canceled this week, leaving 54 families without service. Program Director Marci Gaston says they can't afford to miss days. “It's very critical and important for kids to be in school so when they're not we lose days, the kids lose learning time, the parents absolutely have to scramble and try to figure out another place for their kids to be,” says Gaston.
The building is covered in floor fans and items are stacked on tables. Some of the damaged items include; rugs, furniture, and several books. There's also insulation damage underneath the building.The Fairfield Head Start Center serves preschool and toddler age children. The building has been in its location across from Fairfield Elementary for less than two years. The building is fully insured.
Police don’t know where the thieves are selling the copper, or how much they are getting. In Oregon, there are specific rules and regulations regarding the sale of metal. According to a revised statute, before completing a transaction, the business must create a record that includes the seller's name, signature, address, and driver's license. An Oregon scrap metal business may also require an individual to provide their thumbprint. If a business violates this law, the owner could pay a fine of one thousand dollars for a first offense.
Other businesses targeted include; the Eugene Bethel library, Precision Machine, US Sports Plex, and Co-Motion Bicycles.