Cops search for lamp-snatching thieves

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "I was driving by my alma mater and that's when I first noticed they were gone," said Jerry VanAlst.

A week ago the 1976 graduate of Southwest High School in Kansas City, Mo., couldn't believe what he saw or didn't.

"The sentimental value of those lamps are incredible," he said. "They meant a lot to so many of my friends, neighbors and fellow Southwest alum."

He's talking about two, 12 feet tall, brass lamps that were outside the school's main entrance for more than 80 years.

All that's left now are the concrete bases and a few bolts.

"I used to love to hang out by the lamps. Cheerleaders, football players and jocks, we all had good times near the lamps," says VanAlst.

Jerry suspects copper-hungry culprits got their hands on the lamps and have since sold them at scrapyards for money.

"It makes me angry. I think it's just stupid. Somebody needed a few pennies because they didn't get the full price what these paid for," added VanAlst.

A spokesperson for Kansas City Public Schools says surveillance cameras took video of someone stealing the lamps during an early morning snowstorm in March, but investigators couldn't identify the thief.  We're also told the school district is working with one of its vendors to replace the beloved lamps.

Six months later, VanAlst is glad he brought the thefts to light.

"I just hope they replace the lamps with ones that will resemble the stolen, brass ones, that's all I want," says VanAlst, whose wife and son also attended Southwest High School.

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