Copper thieves hit American Legion building in North

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield - bio | email

NORTH, SC (WIS) - Our veterans are known as heroes, but some have become victims. Copper thieves in the Midlands are at it again, hitting an American Legion building. This may be a hit the vets cannot bounce back from.

A few blocks from downtown North, you'll find the legion. In its heyday, 60 veterans paid dues and met once a month.

"Because we're dealing with World War II and Korean and Vietnam veterans, now we're down to about 20 members and out of those only about 6-8 are able to get out to a meeting once a month," said Navy vet Bruce Buckheister, who oversees things.  

A dwindling membership is not the only problem he's tackling. "They took this unit completely out," he pointed to an air conditioning unit.

Someone stole the A/C unit from beside the building and stripped another one from the back. Police don't know who it was, but say they were likely going for the copper in the coils.

The only real way the legion makes money these days is to rest the place out for parties and events. The good news is, it's booked through the month. The bad news is, it may not be cool enough for the guests.

"Right now we don't have very much money so we're suffering as far as buying another unit," said Buckheister.

He says he'd love to know who did this, but he's not giving the thieves much thought. He's got enough on his hands, and this vet isn't willing to fight it.
But the message the thieves are sending stings. "If they're saying thank you for your service, for making our country free, they're not saying it very well," said Buckheister.

The police chief in North says the copper from the stolen A?C unit will likely get a thief around $100 when they scrap it. The unit the veterans will need to replace costs $2,000.

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