Vandals shut off water to elementary school

Parents called to pick up kids from Bubbling Wells Elementary School

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - The weekend started early for students at one Valley school.  Thieves stole pipes and fittings from the water main at Bubbling Wells Elementary School leaving it without water.

People who live near the school discovered the theft early Friday morning.  The school thought it would be fixed before 10 in the morning.  That's why the day started as usual    but, it turned out to be a much bigger job and with no water or working bathrooms, the kids got sent home. 

"It kind of scared me at first, because I was like what is going on," said Anna Diaz who picked up her brother. 

After only about an hour in the classroom, students at Bubbling Wells Elementary School went back home.

"It surprised me because I just dropped them off and then I hear that something happened," said Diaz.  That something is no water at the school.

"Some time during the early morning hours we had someone come and hook a cable up to our water main to their vehicle and pulled our entire water main out and so water just started gushing out into the street," said principal Steve Marlatt.

Once the piping was pulled out of the ground, the suspect then took off out in the desert presumably to take apart the piping in order to be scraped.

"They though initially they would be able to repair it within a couple of hours but as they dug farther into the damage they realized it was going to take much longer," said Marlatt. 

With no running water and working bathrooms school was canceled. 

"It's not easy but we do have an automatic calling system that goes out to all of the parents that we used of course that only gets ahold of parents if they are at home," said Marlatt.

"You assume that they are in school and then something happens and you have to come and stop what ever you are doing to pick them up," said Diaz.

By noon crews got the water back on, but at a cost of about $2,000 all for about $100 worth of copper and brass. 

"It is very sad that there are people out there that will take what they want because they want it without any regard to consequences," said Marlatt.

Thefts like this is a big problem for Palm Springs Unified School District.  The district provides security but they are responsible for not just Bubbling Wells Elementary but all the schools in the district.

"Unfortunately you cant be every place at all times," said District Security Officer Gerard Winston.

Classes will resume again on Monday. 

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