UPDATE: Trial Begins For Man Accused In Sumner School Theft

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UPDATE 1/8/2014 5:25 PM

Trial begins for a man accused of stealing $18,000 worth of copper from the historic Sumner School.

Last February police arrested Justin Stukey on a warrant for breaking and entering.

The Wood County Prosecutors Office confirms his jury trial started Wednesday.

Parkersburg Police say Stukey stole copper from the school in November of 2012 plus a computer, cell phone and more from Fulton's Supply on Market Street.

UPDATE: 3/1/2013 5:44 PM

Parkersburg police say Thursday night officers responded to the Juliana Street bus station to serve a warrant.

They boarded the bus and found Justin Stukey.

He was arrested on a warrant for breaking and entering.

Police say in November of last year, Stukey broke into Fulton's Supply on Market Street in north Parkersburg.

They say he stole a computer, cell phone, and other items.

But that's not all. Police say Stukey also is one of the men responsible for the Sumner School copper thefts.

They say he broke into the school in November, and removed copper piping and tools worth over $18,000.

"after his arrest we went ahead and filed charges on stukey for the sumner school case. The sumner school case is not however closed. We suspect that there were more people involved in that crime given the magnitude of the items taken," says Sergeant Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department.

Stukey was arraigned Thursday night and placed on a $50,000 bond for each theft totaling $100,000.

Police say no other arrests have been made, but police are searching for more suspects.

The investigation continues.

UPDATE: 12/14/2012 6:35 PM

Over 17,000 dollars of copper stolen from a historic Parkersburg school and now the community's stepping in to make sure it's history isn't tarnished again.

Lights. Camera. Action. The Sumner School is ready and nothings standing in their way.

"The thieves caused a little problem, but it brought everybody together, so it's like come on now...you started a movement and it's not gonna stop," says Sumner School volunteer, Shane Burke.

With the help of local companies and National College students, cameras are being installed throughout the school.

Weeks ago thousands of dollars of copper stolen and the historic school ransacked.

"This school is such a historic landmark, I don't see why we wouldn't want to take action," says Mark Swann with Ohio Valley Technology Services.

"Being able to help the community, that's one thing we've learned at National College. Not only the classroom work, but real work but actually setting up and helping the community," Rick Robinson, a senior at National College says.

Installing cameras, and upgrading computers. The thieves may have done the school favor. Leaving the history but helping the school improve it's technology.

"We're also going over all the computers that they have here at the school to see what we can set up as far as working computers for the school here," Robinson adds.

The students won't stop at just installing these cameras. They'll be in charge of monitoring what goes on.

"We'll continue to work on this system. In fact, if something happens with the cameras, we'll be set up so we can remotely log in and fix problems," Swann says.

Problems that are fading away for the school and shining light on new possibilities.

"They set us back a little, but they also created something bigger than what it had been before," Burke adds.

Jan Dills is helping out with the costs and The Ohio Valley Technology Services donated the equipment.

No arrests have been made and police don't have any suspects. They say they continue to work on this case daily.
A brazen theft at one of Parkersburg's most historic buildings.

"We found out that the upstairs had been broken into and destroyed so we started replacing stuff Tuesday, and we came in this morning and saw that all of our tools and the piping we bought was stolen," says school volunteer Shane Burke.

Two break-ins in two weeks. Thieves ransack The Sumner School in Parkersburg stealing thousands of dollars in copper and leaving the building a mess. Workers found the aftermath Friday morning.

"We closed the window that was broken there, boarded it up so last night they came back and had to have beat it off with a sledge hammer came back in and took what we just bought and all of our tools."

Tools that volunteers like Burke were using to repair damage from the first break-in.

He says the thieves had complete disregard for the school and its rich history. They were looking for anything of value, tearing through drawers and even climbing into the ceiling.

"They ransacked it, cut what pipe they could with a pipe cutter and then the bigger pipe they came back and got an electric saw and cut the rest of the copper pipe out."

It's a big problem for this non-profit organization that holds historical value.

"This is last part of the black history of this town here. It's just a shock that someone would be that callous to hurt an organization that works mainly by donations and contributions."

Shock that will soon wear off, but damage that leaves the school back at square one.

The school was the first free African American high school north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The last graduating class was in the fifties.

Police say 17 thousand dollars of copper and nearly two thousand dollars of tools were stolen.

There are no suspects at this time and police ask you to call 304-424-8444 with information.

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