A major copper theft in southeast Wichita caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and loss.

It happened at an empty building located at 1607 S. Georgetown. The old Dillon's store is still owned by Kroger.

Wichita police say a property representative stopped by the check on the building Tuesday afternoon, August 5, and noticed the theft.

"The thieves cut holes in the wall and were able to pull out wiring in the wall as well as copper tubing," said Cpt. Doug Nolte with the Wichita Police Department. "Once they tear out copper wiring, copper plumbing and things like that, they've got to go back in and actually replace it through the entire structure and that's expensive."

Initial estimates indicate the theft cost several hundreds thousand dollars in damages to the building and copper stolen. Because it's such a large theft, police believe the thieves had access to the building for some time before it was noticed. The investigation indicates the thieves gained access to the building through a rear door and were able to keep it propped open.

"Empty buildings definitely need to be checked on a regular basis because in order to do this kind of theft, there would have to be long term access to the building," added Cpt. Nolte. "We're encouraging business owners to be vigilant that if you own property that is vacant, understand that it might be a target for thieves."

Other evidence was collected from the scene but investigators aren't releasing any more information about what that evidence might be. No suspects have been arrested.

If you have any information on this theft or noticed any suspicious behavior around this building in the past several days or weeks, you're encouraged to call 9-1-1 or Crime Stoppers at 267-2111.