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A/C theft could cost East TN school district up to $28,000

10:02 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR-Rutledge, Tn) Authorities in Grainger County are investigating thefts at Rutledge Middle School that left some classrooms without air conditioning on Tuesday.

Surveillance video indicates the thefts happened around 4:00 a.m.

School officials say they discovered parts missing from four air conditioning units on the roof after some teachers started reporting their classrooms weren't cooling down.

"We've never had anything like that happen at our school," said Rutledge Middle School Principal Roger Blanken.

Students in the affected classrooms were moved to other rooms.

Maintenance crews are looking at the units to see if they can be repaired, but officials say they will likely have to be replaced. It could cost the school district up to $28,000 to replace all of the units.

"Well, anytime, if it's $100 or $100,000, that's taking something away from the children and that's unfortunate," said Grainger County Director of Schools Edwin Jarnagin.

Jarnagin said the district was hopeful insurance could cover part of the expenses. He said no timetable is in place as to when the units will be fixed or replaced.

The Rutledge Police Department is investigating the case. Blanken said he's hopeful authorities find the person, or people, responsible for the incident.

"It's sad that somebody would go out and do something like that," he said.

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