Detectives with the West Bloomfield Police Department are investigating whether two men located in the area of Eagle Elementary School when a fire alarm sounded over the weekend were attempting to steal copper from the building.
West Bloomfield firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the former school, located at 29140 14 Mile Rd., at about 7:30 p.m. on March 23. They found no signs of fire but told police about an open door at the vacant building, and that two men were seen running from the property, reports said.
Officers responding to the scene located the two men described by firefighters nearby and detained them while they contacted the building's new owner. A representative from the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA) inspected the building with police and reported nothing stolen or disturbed, reports said. There also were no signs of forced entry.
With no evidence of a crime committed, the officers released the two men, ages 54 and 31, after identifying them as residents of Oakland Township and Pontiac, Lt. Tim Diamond said.
On Wednesday, a representative from the ICA called police after they found the copper wiring to the building's security system cut. Investigators believe it's possible they were after more of the precious metal in the building, but fled when they heard the fire trucks, Diamond said.
The building has been vacant and the center of controversy since the district closed it in 2010. The Farmington Public Schools sold the property to the ICA of Franklin in 2011, but the development of a proposed Islamic center and mosque was embroiled in a legal challenge from residents that led to delays. The suit, and subsequent appeals are now over.
Earlier this month, the nearly three weeks after the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit filed by two district residents.
Follow all West Bloomfield news:
- State Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of West Bloomfield Mosque Opponents
- Reported Vandalism at Former Eagle Elementary