Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
Electricians had to made repairs at Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County after copper thieves cut a live wire leaving the charity without a way to provide warm meals to those in need.
A power outage has stopped a local charity in its tracks. The problem isn't the weather, but copper thieves.
Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County received a call from its security company around 1:30 a.m. that the power was out. An employee that lives nearby verified shortly thereafter that the power line from the pole to the building had been cut. Copper thieves stole 80 pounds of copper from the building, leaving the charity in the dark.
This is the third time in the last year and fourth time in 39 years that copper thieves have targeted the building on South Freeway in Fort Worth. The agency installed cages and then had to fortify them with more metal in an effort to keep thieves out of the building's air conditioning units.
With no power running the kitchen, meal deliveries have been put on hold for the day because the kitchen cannot operate. Deliveries are also being delayed or postponed. Clients will have to resort to using emergency rations.
"We have meals we refer to as shelf stable meals, these meals go out to our clients in the event we're not able to deliver due to weather or any other emergency such as this," Denise Harris with Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County said.
The thieves took a big risk in getting to the copper, as they had to cut a live power line. Electricians made repairs by 10 a.m. and were waiting for a city inspection and Oncor to re-energize the building by midday.
The act to cut power to the business is a big blow, not just to those relying on the meals, but to the charity itself.
"When something like this happens, it's difficult," Harris said. "Not just to do our mission, but it hits out budget at such a crucial time already."
When thieves hit the building last summer they stole just three pounds of copper, or $9 worth. It cost the charity $6,700 to repair. It's not clear just yet how much this theft will cost.
Meals on Wheels hopes to be back delivering meals though on Tuesday, if power is restored.