RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Richmond Public School leaders confirm that 11 employees of the school maintenance department, Plant Services, have been placed on administrative leave after reports of stealing at a school site soon set to be demolished.
CBS 6 has learned the employees were called to the Arthur Ashe building Friday afternoon and notified about their change in employment status.
"There was some information brought to the attention of the administration and it involved some employees doing things that they shouldn't have done," said Jeff Bourne, Richmond School Board Chair.
Bourne said he was disappointed to learn that nearly a dozen school maintenance employees were are being investigated for stealing, stealing from inside a Richmond Public School building.
"Being trustworthy and honest, doing our jobs with the utmost professionalism is paramount," said Bourne
The incident is reported to have occurred at the Old Broad Rock Elementary School, a building set to be demolished and replaced with a brand new school that sits adjacent to the old one.
School leaders confirm that allegations brought to them indicate that the employees stole copper from inside the building. It could potentially be worth thousands of dollars.
"There may need to be some involvement from the Richmond police," said Bourne.
We're told police have been notified and that Superintendent Yvonne Brandon had a hand in putting the employees on leave. Bourne does not know if the copper can be recovered but says he is eager to find out what happened. Bourne contends schools are no place for waste or abuse.
"As public employees we are paid for and we have a job because of tax dollars," said Bourne.
CBS 6 has learned that the first reports of the copper theft came from a contractor working on the demolition of the building. That contractor was unavailable for comment Monday night.