School in Maili
hit by thieves again

A frustrated educator offers
money from her own pocket
to stop computer crooks

Debbie May is so fed up with thefts at Maili Elementary School that she is putting up $100 of her own money as a reward for the return of computers stolen from her room at the school this week.

"It's just out of frustration that I'm trying to fight back," said May, an educational assistant who works with special-education students at the school.

"Our computers have been stolen so much. ... The eMac that they stole this time was bought to replace the iMac that they stole last year."

Early Tuesday morning, while it was still dark, burglars broke into a portable room at the school that is used as an office for special-education teachers as well as a classroom, and made off with four laptop computers, a desktop computer and a cordless phone.

The computers were used by teachers to maintain student records and contained confidential information that the school needs.

Students also used the desktop as a reward for completing assignments.

"It affects the whole special-ed department, and we have, say, 100 kids," May said. "I'm offering $100 for the return of the computers or the conviction of the thieves. Please tell the community and the pawnshops not to buy these computers from these thieves."

Principal Linda Victor said the thieves appeared to be familiar with the school and foiled its security system.

The burglars first tried to pry off a wall of the portable room, then chiseled around a door lock to get in.

"Whoever it is knows what we have and goes after it," Victor said. "We do try to curtail it. We have an alarm system, a security system. In this case it wasn't enough."

The loss was estimated at $10,000 in equipment and software.

School started a just a week ago at Maili.

"The students are the ones who lose the most in these cases," Victor said. "Every single one of them felt very demoralized yesterday when they realized what had happened."

The school community was already mourning the loss of one of their classmates, Alacia Williams, who was killed last week in a car crash.

"I feel so sorry for these kids," May said. "They were already traumatized. Is there no place that is safe for them?"


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