Mesa police are trying to locate a set of bleacher thieves who have stolen more than $20,000 in seating sections of the aluminum grandstands.
Since May 13 there have been 14 bleacher theft incidents, reported by officials throughout the Mesa Unified School District, that have targeted athletic fields at junior and senior high schools on the city’s east side, according to Detective Mike Melendez, a Mesa police spokesman.
Melendez told the Tribune on Friday that the most recent bleacher theft happened Wednesday or Thursday at Taylor Junior High, 705 S. 32nd St.
Some person or a group of people are unscrewing the metal benches from the main portion of the grandstands or the metal steps leading up to them, Melendez said.
“It appears to be happening at night,” Melendez said. “At this point, it doesn’t appear to be a prank due to the number of incidents that keep happening. We’re checking with schools in other cities to see if this is happening there and with recycling companies to see if they’re getting any pieces of the bleachers. Right now, aluminum is selling for about 45 cents a pound.”
Some of the schools that have been targeted include Mesa and Skyline high schools and Smith, Brimhall and Taylor junior highs. Some of the schools have been hit more than once.
Investigators are reviewing video surveillance from schools, Melendez said.