BURIEN, Wash. — Copper wire thieves were at it again this week, this time targeting Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien. The attempted copper theft caused Friday’s Mount Rainier homecoming game to be rescheduled until Saturday afternoon.
Highline School District Athletic Director Phil Willenbrock said they were aware of copper wire thefts at nearby stadiums and hoped thieves would not be able to get to their wiring.
“Everything is secure, but as with anything, if somebody wants to cause harm, they can regardless of what context they're talking about,” Willenbrock said.
District facilities staff worked through the night to get a generator attached to the scoreboard and a sound system, so Mount Rainier and Auburn high schools could play Saturday.
The school district will start trying to figure out what repairs are needed and how much it will cost to get everything fixed on Monday.
“The amount of loss, not just financially, but just in time and in the effort, and human resources, is severe,” Willenbrock explained. "Whoever wanted to accomplish this, to create a challenge for a district, they have not won because we have good people.”
Highline is just the latest school district to face what will likely be thousands of dollars in repairs for what thieves might have sold for little money.
The Edmonds School District just spent $20,000 to make repairs at Edmonds District Stadium after discovering thieves stole copper wiring from the light poles on the field. The Shoreline School District said it spent $11,000 to repair the damage at their fields after copper wire was stolen on August 17.
The King County Sheriff's Office said thieves could have been electrocuted when they stole wires from street lights in White Center neighborhood. On top of the danger of stealing the wire, it's not a large profit. Copper wire is currently selling around $2-2.65 per pound.
Highline will not know how much it will cost to fix the damage to their field until they start work on Monday.
Mount Rainier bounced back bringing home the victory at their rescheduled game on Saturday. But for the adults, it's not easy to shake off the frustration over the money.
“Kids are pretty resilient, they'll brush it off, but the expense to the school is huge,” said spectator Julie Beck.