The opening of a new fire station and fire department headquarters in St. Paul has been delayed by a thief who made off with copper wiring and pipes, authorities said.
Fire department officials had hoped to move in to the building by Thanksgiving, but now that likely won't happen until Dec. 14, St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said. A wet October has also hindered progress on the building, he said.
Insurance will cover the $70,000 loss, but all the copper cables and wires had already been installed and will have to be reinstalled, Zaccard said.
The thief climbed the chain-link fence to break into the site at W. 7th St. and Randolph Ave. on Oct. 5, he said. The contractors have since been providing security at the site at night.
Zaccard said the theft disgusted him and other members of the department.
"This isn't just any job site, but it's a public building," he said. "They're stealing from all of us when they do this thing."
Besides serving as the department's headquarters, the building will eventually be the new location for two existing fire stations.
The building, which is receiving federal stimulus dollars, will have a green roof to capture stormwater runoff.