Crime & Justice

Tuba thefts continue South LA surge, hitting city of Bell

Brass instruments
Brass instruments

The rash of South L.A. tuba thefts has become an epidemic after $12,000 worth of sousaphones were stolen from Bell High School on Monday.

Bell band director Ligia Chaves-Rasas says thieves cut band room locks before breaking into her office where the tubas are locked up. They only took the brass sousaphones, leaving less expensive fiberglass tubas behind.

“We have the best doors in the district - the ones with the metal plates on the outside and no handles," Chaves-Rasas told the Los Angeles Times. "They still got in."

Some instructors are blaming the thefts on the popularity of banda, a type of Mexican dance music anchored by tubas.

Eight tubas were stolen from Centennial High School in Compton, and schools in South Gate, Fremont, Jordan and Huntington Park have also been targeted.

As in other cases, no arrests have been made.