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Brazen theft leaves Glenforest School in West Columbia reeling

Anyone with information about the theft is urged to contact the West Columbia Police Department or Crimestoppers

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Someone or some people have wreaked havoc on Glenforest School in West Columbia. 

Three HVAC units and a trailer were stolen from the school's property. School employees believe it happened sometime this week.

This theft impacts the school's canteen, foyer, bathrooms, weight room, and offices attached to the gym. The gym itself, however, still has air conditioning.

"You don't think it's going to happen to you, and you definitely would think someone would not target a school for children that need a healthy, safe environment to learn," Head of school Heather Miller said.

Glenforest School in West Columbia is an independent school that serves grades K through 12, specifically those with learning differences. 

The school is now working to piece together what happened to their property. 

"Northpoint Heating and Air had arrived to do their scheduled maintenance on our HVAC units, and he called to say that when they went around to start behind the gym, they immediately noticed that three of our smaller HVAC units had been stolen," Miller said.

The people that took the units cut wiring and metal that connected the HVACs to the building. They also left tire tracks and a footprint. 

Glenforest School said the West Columbia Police Department is investigating and that they collected evidence on Thursday.

"We actually had what they call site patrols or property checks. We were on that list and I asked to make sure that we were put back on that list," Glenforest Director of Operations Billy Briggs said. "So, we're pursuing every way to try to protect our property, and for the interest of our kids and our community partners." 

West Columbia Police tell News 19 they'll be checking the property day and night now that this has happened.

"This is a great cost for our school to replace these units," Miller said. "We have insurance, but to replace these units, we're looking at on the low end of $60,000."

Miller tells News 19 the school still plans to host their two summer camps starting Monday, but they'll now have to make adjustments.

"The kids are going to have to eat in the classroom and won't be able to eat in the canteen area, so you know it's more work for us to clean and keep the environment safe and for them, but we'll do it because it's always about the kids and who we're serving at Glenforest," Miller said.

Miller explains they appreciate the support they've received from area businesses offering to help. 

If you have any information about this theft, call the West Columbia Police Department or contact Crimestoppers anonymously in any of the following ways:

If you'd like to help the school, give them a call at (803) 796-7622 or email the head of school at hmiller@glenforest.org.

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