Thieves steal tools from FEMA shelter construction site in Purdy

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PURDY, Mo. -- Purdy schools just broke ground recently on a FEMA shelter.
The school and members of the community are excited the project is now underway, but also disappointed in some thieves.

The FEMA shelter the district has hoped for for years is on the way.
"Knowing that we could be, all of our students and staff, over in that building in a matter of a few minutes is very comforting," says Derek Banwart, Purdy High School Principal.

The building will sit just across the street from the school campus. It will also serve as the district's preschool and performing arts center. It's a project the whole community can appreciate.

"It's actually going to be open for the entire city. It should be large enough to fit the whole population of Purdy into this storm shelter once it's built," says Jackie Lowe, Purdy Police Chief.

Official groundbreaking happened just a couple of weeks ago, and days after, thieves came to call. Dewalt power tools, a large generator and a couple pieces of valuable surveying equipment- a total of about $4,000 worth of tools, were stolen.

Lowe says, "It's very frustrating that they would steal from the company that's trying to benefit us. This is our only storm shelter, they're building for us. So, it's just kind of disappointing that someone would take their tools away from them."

As police look for the thieves, the rough start isn't stopping progress on the shelter. School officials hope that the shelter, performing arts center and preschool will be ready by Christmas.

The Barry-Lawrence County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward if there is an arrest and conviction. If you know anything about the theft, call (888) 354-8477.

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