Copper Thief Targets Dallas Schools: Police | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Copper Thief Targets Dallas Schools: Police



    (Published Wednesday, April 9, 2014)

    A suspected thief targeting Dallas schools is behind bars, and a principal helped catch him.

    Right now, 39-year-old Greg Desha Ellis is facing theft charges after police said he stole copper and scrap metal from at least 30 school buildings, hundreds of times.

    Police said he was after the copper and metal inside and outside of school buildings in the air conditioning units. Investigators said Ellis stole from schools which are currently open and some DISD buildings that have been shut down.

    On March 23, police said Ellis was taking metal from the chiller at Truett Elementary when a principal walked in on him. Ellis took off, but the principal was able to get a license number.

    Police were able to track down Ellis at the scrap metal shop where he was taking all of the stolen metal; he was arrested on Tuesday.

    The DISD police chief said the damage is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and that, in the end it's the taxpayers who are paying for it.

    "I think the frustrating thing is, these are our kids, these are our buildings, these are taxpayer buildings, these places are places kids come to learn, these are places people come to feel safe," said Chief Craig Miller. "If it's hot, air conditioners not working, that's not what's fair to our kids."

    In six months police believe Ellis turned in stolen metal 500 times to the same metal shop. That's multiple times a day.

    Ellis' bond is set at $1,500. He does have a criminal record.