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Artifacts at museum jeopardized

Three heat pumps damaged, missing copper parts at Packard

Special to the Tribune Chronicle Three heat pumps at the National Packard Museum, 1899 Mahoning Ave. NW, were damaged over the weekend.

WARREN — Someone damaged and stole copper piping, condensers and compressors from three heat pumps at the National Packard Museum in two separate weekend incidents, jeopardizing the museum’s heating system and artifacts housed in a climate-controlled vault.

Mary Ann Porinchak, the museum’s executive director, told police she received notification around 5 a.m. Saturday the fire alarms in the heat pumps outside the building were going off.

She found two electric pumps were damaged and the copper piping inside the pumps had been cut out, a police report states. To get to the pumps, someone pried a panel from a wooden fence.

The cost to replace the equipment is about $15,000.

Then Sunday night or early Monday morning, a third pump at the museum had parts taken from it, Porinchak said Monday.

That pump, which is gas operated, cost around $11,000 to install, she said, bringing the total damage up to about $26,000.

It also controls all of the heat for the museum, Great Hall and a vault that contains numerous artifacts.

The pump was temporarily repaired, but will need replaced. A small heater and dehumidifier were placed in the vault to temporarily protect the artifacts.

The museum remains open, Porinchak said.

Porinchak said insurance will cover some of the cost to replace the pumps, but the museum will be out at least $2,000 to cover the insurance deductible, plus costs associated with labor and installation of new pumps and new security measures such as lighting, surveillance and fencing.

Porinchak said something like this hasn’t happened in her 18 years at the museum, 1899 Mahoning Ave. NW.

“It was a brazen move by whoever did this and it means we have to take drastic measures to protect the units moving forward,” Porinchak said.

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