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Thieves Strike Hume School, Endangering Historical Society’s Finances

by ARLnow.com January 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm 2,541 10 Comments

The Hume School, home of the Arlington Historical Society Museum (1805 South Arlington Ridge Road), was damaged by thieves last month, the organization’s president has confirmed.

“Sometime in early December, thieves literally ripped off three 30 foot long copper downspouts from the exterior walls of the Hume School,” said Arlington Historical Society President Tom Dickinson. “This is a severe blow to our carefully shepherded finances, which were already in a precarious (deficit budget) situation. Although covered by insurance, we will incur a $1,000 deductible hit to pay for replacement downspouts.”

Dickinson said he’s meeting with a contractor today to get an estimate for the total replacement cost. He said that with the public’s help, he’s still hoping to catch the thieves.

“It would be interesting to know if any of your readers have contacts with scrap metal dealers in the area who might remember having seen these very long, dark brown tubes come through recently,” he said. “The price of copper has gone way up in recent months, thus making such brazen thefts more frequent.”

A photo of the Hume School is one of the finalists in this year’s county vehicle decal contest.

Anyone interested in donating to the historical society can do so online here or by sending a check to the Arlington Historical Society at P.O. Box 100402, Arlington, Virginia 22210-3402.

  • DanD

    I hope they don’t plan on replacing the gutters with copper again. I know its a historic structure, but that’s just begging for it. I just got back from Cleveland where a church had its gutters stolen twice in three months before the parish switched to a less tempting material. I hope Hume does the same.

    • Agreed. As attractive or as historically accurate as it may be, it is not prudent to use valuable copper which invites theft. Telecom and I believe even energy companies have trouble all the time with theft of copper lines. I am sorry this happened, but take the insurance money, go to home depot, and buy some affordable – wont be stolen – down spouts.

      • bred

        This likely may be an Urban Legend, but I do remember when I worked for an electric company during summer breaks from college that the linemen would tell stories of electrified transformers stolen off of polls just so the thieves could get and sell the copper.

    • Lou

      The school is a nationally registered historic property, so there could be some restrictions on replacement materials, depending on whether there is federal grant money involved, or through the SHPO.

      Just throwing that out there, I don’t know anything specific about their listing on the register.

    • Zoning Victim

      Really? So don’t own anything nice because that’s begging for some criminal to steal it? I hope they buy new, gold plated gutters and a Doberman.

  • John Fontain

    The November 29th issue of BusinessWeek had a long article about the increasing theft of metals and certain jurisdictions’ efforts to identify and arrest the thieves.


    Some areas require local scrap yards to document what they buy, take pictures of the scrapers, copy their driver’s licenses, and note their vehicle tags #’s before buying. Not sure if these measures are required here, but a check with some local scrap yards will yield the answer.

  • OX4

    Well, scratch that one off the list of candidates for the vehicle decal design contest.

    • GeorgeOrwell

      no, no. all the more reason to bring more attention to the plight of our historical resource.

  • Sounds like Bubbles moved from B’more to A-town

    • Bunk

      Nice Wire Reference


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