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FORT WORTH - The Fortress Youth Development Center was closed on Monday and Tuesday because of copper thieves.

The center opened on Wednesday only to discover thieves had hit again during the night.

This time the thieves broke into the vans used to pick up the children and stole the batteries. The batteries were locked to hold down the hoods.

It's pretty emotionally wrenching, said Stacy Kocur, The Fortress. It's exhausting.

The Fortress is meant to be just that, a fortress for children besieged by poverty, homelessness and crime on Fort Worth's near south side.

Last weekend, copper thieves knocked out power to the after school program. This caused food to spoil and left the building in the dark.

We're here because we love the kids in this neighborhood, Kocur said. And we believe every kid deserves the opportunity to break out of that generational cycle of poverty and achieve their dreams.

When the thieves struck the first time, the community can out to help. Milestone Electric refused payment for $3,000 worth of repairs. Boomerjacks Grill refilled the freezers. Strangers showed up with donations.

We tell all our kids you're a child of God and you can achieve your dreams, said Kocur. That keeps us going.

She said they will keep going, despite the crime.

Email: jdouglas@wfaa.com

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