Thieves hit vacant school

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A lineman from Connecticut Light & Power works to cut electricity to Prospect Street School on Route 68 Tuesday. A thief or thieves broke into the high voltage room attached to the school and removed copper wiring. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials discovered Tuesday morning that someone had broken into the electrical room of the recently vacated Prospect Street School to steal copper wiring.

Mayoral Aide Ed Carter said he and Facilities Manager Mike Massicotte routinely inspect the school at 100 Prospect St., which they were doing Tuesday at about 10 a.m. with representatives from Siemens to check the boilers.

When they realized the power was off, they went to check the electrical room, which is entered from outside the building, and saw the lock had been broken, Carter said. The hasp and screws holding it in place were rusted and corroded, making the job easier for the thief or thieves.

Copper wiring that ran along the wall of the room, at an estimated value of $50, was missing.

The building was last inspected in mid-December and no alarms had gone off since then, Carter said.

“Mike and I didn’t know there was no power until we got here,” Carter said.

Officials called Connecticut Light & Power, which cut the building’s power supply before starting to make necessary repairs. Power was restored to the building within three hours, said Mitch Gross, CL&P spokesman.

The building was most recently a preschool after serving for decades as an elementary school. The Board of Education last year moved its preschool programs into the Central Avenue School and turned the building over to the borough, which has not been using it for anything other than to store recycling bins, Carter said.

Although the building is vacant, power is still needed to run the boilers so pipes do not freeze and burst, Carter said.

The Naugatuck Police Department is investigating the theft, said spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata.