School district and county police to combat copper theft

Copper thieves have been so active in DeKalb County schools that the district is scrambling a special police unit with air support to fight back.

Thieves typically strip copper from air conditioning units, forcing costly repairs. They have caused an estimated $800,000 in damage at 16 schools, the DeKalb County School District said.

So at 10 a.m. Thursday, DeKalb police were planning to land a helicopter equipped with “advanced technology infrared imaging and night vision” at Stephenson Middle School in Stone Mountain in a show of force and an unveiling of a new school burglary suppression unit. County and school police will work together to catch the culprits, the district said. Cedric Alexander, DeKalb’s deputy chief operating officer of public safety, was expected at the unveiling of the new suppression unit at 922 Stephenson Road.