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Burglars steal computers from Chambersburg schools for the fourth time this year

November 11, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For the fourth time this year and the second time in a week, computers have been stolen in a burglary at Chambersburg Area School District elementary schools, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Police said a variety of computer equipment and teaching supplies were stolen between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday from Lurgan Elementary School, 8888 Roxbury Road. It was the third time since school began in September that computers have been stolen in a burglary at Lurgan Elementary.

Stolen were three Dell desktop computers from the computer lab, an LCD monitor and projector from the secretary's office, another LCD monitor from the custodial office and a multimedia cart, said Mark Long, the district's director of technology. The cart had a computer, projector, DVD and VCR player, a speaker system and a SmartBoard Sympodium, he said.

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"That was an expensive little cart," Long said. He estimated the value of the stolen equipment at $8,900.

"Really, they're stealing against the kids," Long said of whoever is committing the burglaries. "Plus, it's our tax dollars."

The burglaries also are having an effect on the students, he said.

"This is the third time they've seen the police cars and they're getting nervous," he said of the students. The teachers and staff, he said, are doing their best to reassure students their schools are safe despite the break-ins.

Last week, police were called to Grandview Elementary, 5538 Cumberland Highway, to investigate the theft of 27 Dell laptop computers. Also stolen in the break-in, which occurred on the night of Wednesday, Nov. 2, or morning of Thursday, Nov. 3, were three Kenwood headsets, a Dell Palm Pilot and a transmitting monitor for the visually impaired, police said.

Long said the loss from the Grandview break-in was approximately $39,000.

Shortly after schools opened in September, Lurgan Elementary was broken into twice, the first time on a weekend and then the following Monday night or Tuesday morning, police said at the time.

In the first break-in, nine Dell GX 270 computers were stolen from a computer lab, along with a Dell Dimension 3000 computer and five Dell M782 monitors, police said at the time. The second involved the theft of four computers and monitors from the school's library.

The loss from those burglaries was about $13,000, Long said.

The district buys its computers from Dell and the serial numbers of the computers and parts are registered with the company, Long said. That could help authorities track them down if someone takes one in to be serviced by a legitimate vendor, he said.

Anyone with information may call state police at 717-264-5161.

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