FORT WORTH- The Fortress Youth Development Center had to shut its doors on Monday after copper thieves struck.

The center has served at-risk children for the past six years in the Fort Worth area.

Copper vandals broke into the electric panels. They got away with the copper and knocked out the power and disconnected air conditioning.

The non-profit provides breakfast, lunch and snacks for the children. The food in the refrigerator has spoiled.

The absence of power meant the school could not open and at least 65 children missed pre school and after-school care.

It hurts the kids who looks forward to coming to Fortress after school, said Stacy Kocur, Youth Development Center. They get homework help here that they may or may not get at home. Some of them have parents who work and depend on us. It's putting his parents in a hard place.

An electrician repaired the damaged meter early Monday. However, the center needs a city code inspector to okay the repairs so the center can power back up.

Just before noontime, the city contacted the center, said someone would be out shortly. At 12:30 pm, a Fort Worth code inspector had arrived at the center in the 700 block of East Stella.

The center officials said the electric meter repair is going to cost them dearly -- totaling $3,000.

They have insurance but suspect it won't cover the entire expense. They said they will have to pay the rest of the bill with part of their newest grant money, which was intended to enhance the computer literacy program.

The center will update whether classes are being held tomorrow on it's website.


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