School without water after pipes stolen

LOS ANGELES Crews were on hand Monday morning to restore and repair copper plumbing valves and the piping for the main water service line to El Sereno Elementary School.

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Hundreds of school children were initially affected by the loss of water. The school, however, was prepared for the last minute emergency. They had stored water barrels and were able to use them for drinking water.

About 650 students, plus the teachers and staff members were initially without water and working toilets, after thieves stole the copper piping that controls the school's water supply.

"Basically, what we think they did - because there were no gates ajar, no locks were cut, no chain link was cut, no chains - they just dragged it underneath the chainlink fence, probably when it got dark," said Principal Beth Bythrow.

The kids were given plenty of water to drink throughout the day.

Thieves also stole the copper pressure release valve from the nearby Wilson High School Annex building. Students there had plenty of water to drink, but for some of the children at El Sereno Elementary School, their shortage of water was a frustrating experience.

"I think today was a life changing experience. It is frustrating that one little thing can change your elementary school like this. It was hard for all of us because we were thinking that we might not have water for the entire day," said student Joshua Velez.

The school principal told Eyewitness News that the thieves were in a white van Sunday afternoon outside the school. Neighbors thought that it was a district crew doing maintenance work.

An investigation is now underway into the school theft.


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