Suspected copper thief falls through Phoenix school's ceiling

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A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas
A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas
A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas
A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas A suspected copper thief was found after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A suspected copper thief was found Monday morning after he fell through the ceiling at a Phoenix elementary school over the weekend.

Police say the man broke into Bret R. Tarver Elementary School near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road sometime after 1 p.m. Saturday reportedly to steal copper.

Phoenix police Sgt. Jeff Chapman said the man opened a rooftop hatch to get into the school. He was crawling around between the ceiling and rooftop when he crashed through and fell head first to the ground.

A teacher found him bloody and unconscious in a hallway at approximately 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Police say he was a local homeless man. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in critical condition.

Police found approximately 100 pounds of copper torn out of the air-conditioning units and piled neatly on the rooftop.

"It appears all they were interested in was copper and possibly whatever cash you can get out of the soda machines," Chapman said.

Police believe there was another man involved in the attempted theft.