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School's aluminum bleachers stolen from Apple Valley ball field

August 4, 2011 |  2:30 pm

Police are investigating the theft of an Apple Valley school’s aluminum bleachers from the campus’ baseball field during summer break.

When students and staff returned to the Academy of Academic Excellence on Monday, they learned that a large section of bleachers was missing, said Trish Hill, a spokeswoman for the Apple Valley Police Department.

The theft likely occurred sometime between June 10 and July 21 when school was out, Hill said. She estimated that the culprits made off with two complete sections of bleachers about 20 feet long and consisting of around six rows. They left behind just three panels, Hill said. 

There are no suspects and no leads, such as footprints or tire tracks, because the area has experienced heavy rains in recent weeks, Hill said.

Hill said the theft was likely the work of thieves who earn money from recyclers for materials such as copper and aluminum. Investigators with the Apple Valley Police Department’s metal theft division would be following up with local recycling businesses, he said.

Hill said the last big local case of metal theft occurred a few months back when milk and bread crates were stolen from outside supermarkets. Investigators were subsequently able to recoup some of the stolen items, she said.

Officials at the Academy of Academic Excellence could not immediately be reached for comment, but the Victorville Daily Press quoted the school’s chief executive, Rick Piercy, as saying that at a time when schools are financially strapped the theft of expensive bleachers “really hurts.”

“It feels worse, I think, when their selfish actions are specifically geared toward hurting kids,” Piercy told the paper.

Hill said residents should be alert particularly when visiting recycling centers and should contact authorities to report anything suspicious such as someone turning up with a truckload of bleachers.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

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