Efforts to rebuild the arena in Saint-Arthur have suffered a setback after thieves made off with thousands of dollars in tools and materials earlier this week.

Copper wires, copper pipes, and an electric transformer were among the stolen items, said RCMP Const. Yves Desroches.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the culprits.

The Hector Pitre Arena was destroyed by fire in March. It was the northern community's only sporting facility.

A local committee that's been fundraising to help rebuild is reeling, said member Julien Ouellette.

Hector Pitre Arena in Saint Arthur

The former Hector Pitre Arena site in Saint-Arthur has been picked clean by scavengers. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

"We're doing anything to collect money and people come here and steal from us, that's trying to rebuild the arena for our young people. So it makes everybody feel bad."

The transformer alone was worth about $10,000, said Ouellette. It was left on site because the group figured it was too heavy for anyone to move, he said.

Now, Ouellette and other volunteers, including Hector Pitre, who the arena's named after, are looking for anything the thieves may have missed that can be salvaged.

The rebuild will be expensive — an estimated $6 million — and they're trying to save money where they can, said Ouellette.

They plan to reuse the ice surface and parts of the roof.

Contractor Théo Levesque is donating his expertise.

"We got the [approval] from the insurance so we can start tearing down the building. We got the engineer working on a new set of plans for the building, and hopefully we'll get all the money to go ahead and do it," he said.

About $163,000 has been raised so far. Construction is slated for next fall.