Copper thieves hit an agricultural education center for the second time in about three months, center officials said Monday.

Copper piping was stolen from the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education in Hellam Township sometime between Friday night and the next morning, when center officials arrived to set up for an event, Debbie Krout-Althoff, the center's executive director, said.

"This time, they took the copper they didn't get last time," Krout-Althoff said. "It's just a mess."

Over the weekend, thieves sawed through copper piping that fed water to the center's various fields, hacked away at a water containment unit and ripped out copper coils used for center operations, she said. Hellam Township Police are investigating the theft.

The last time the center was robbed in April, someone stole copper pipes and caused damage that cost the center more than $8,000 to repair, center officials reported.

It appears this theft might have a heftier toll, Krout-Althoff said.

The center is again working with the insurance company and trying to find a way to meet the deductible. Center officials are concerned about their insurance because this is the second theft for them in less than six months.

Krout-Althoff said she's hoping the public will help with monetary donations to repair the center. Center officials are also looking for plumbers and skilled laborers to contribute their time and materials for the repairs.


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TO HELP

Anyone who would like to make donations or would like more information is asked to call the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education in Hellam Township at 654-0571.

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