A local daycare had to turn families away Thursday all because of a copper thief.
Someone stole the copper wiring outside the Westport facility, causing so much damage the daycare was forced to close its doors. It's the third time in a year the Willow Woods Daycare was forced to close its doors, causing families to find another way to care for their little ones.
"We showed up this morning and one of the teachers met us and told us due to some vandalism the building wasn't going to be open today," Rick Wright said.
Wright and his wife, Pam Wright, work during the day so the vandalism affected more than just the daycare.
"We've had to juggle our schedules a little bit for the day. We can make arrangements but I'm sure it inconveniences other families that bring their kids here," he said.
Copper thieves targeted the daycare overnight, ripping out the copper wiring from the electrical panel. It's the second time the building has attracted similar thieves, causing a rough year for a business that also had a fire in December 2011.
"It's just an unfortunate act on someone's part of desperation which then impacts the community at large," Wanda Hewitt, the assistant director for Willow Woods, said.
Woods said Thursday morning her employees called her, wondering why the power wasn't on. After troubleshooting with Kansas City Power and Light, Co., she called them back.
"(I) told them to flip the switches, nothing worked. A couple of the employees came out, walked around the building and found big pieces of copper wiring everywhere," Hewitt said.
Hours later, the school was announcing its temporary closure to parents and electricians were working to get the problem fixed.
Hewitt said the thieves didn't make a clean getaway.
"There was even a knife they used to cut the wires left inside the electrical panel, so then we knew it was theft," she said. "(The hardest part is) turning families away and losing business."
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