HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) – An empty police cruiser used as a decoy and security cameras monitored by the police department failed to help protect Highland Park’s shuttered water plant from ruthless copper thieves.

Authorities confirmed thieves targeted the water plant, making off with thousands of dollars in copper and leaving behind a flooded facility.

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Council President Chris Woodard said the theft renews the debate over Mayor DeAndre Windom’s decision to close the plant last December.

“The mayor has caused us to go onto the Detroit water system, and I’ll just take the liberty to say that I don’t think that he really had the right to do that without consulting the council, who the charter seems to be clear that the council has purview over all property, and that’s exactly how it reads,” he said.

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Windom said he made the city a commercial customer of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department because his city’s water treatment plant is in need of expensive repairs, which he attributed to years of deferred maintenance.

Woodard said after the current thefts, more council members will be pressing the mayor about his decision.

“So now it appears that some other council members are stepping up to ask the same questions, additional probing questions as to what is going on and when will we be back on our own water system. I think the longer the plant stays down, the possibilities of coming back become more remote,” he said.

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