Reward offered for computer thieves

A private citizen has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves who stole various computer equipment from Savannah Primary School last month.

Mark Scotland, who is president of the Savannah Primary PTA offered the reward because he wants to see the criminals captured.

‘As far as I’m concerned, the only thing worse than stealing from a school is stealing from a church,’ he said.

Nine IBM CPU’s, five IMB computer mouses, five IMB keyboards and four IBM flat-screen monitors were stolen.

February’s theft was not the first time computer equipment was stolen from Savannah Primary.

A similar number of computers were stolen in late August 2005, just after school had reopened.

Savannah Primary Principal Lorna Blackman said those computers had been replaced after an insurance claim was paid.

Mrs. Blackman said she was not sure if the most recent computers were insured.

‘One person says yes, another person says no,’ she said, adding that she was supposed to speak to someone else to find out definitively.

Mr. Scotland said the criminals gained access to the inside of the school in the same way for both robberies: by drilling a whole in the window and pushing something through the hole to unlatch the lock.

‘Obviously, these thefts were an organised thing,’ he said.

Savannah Primary did have a security guard at the time of the theft, but Mr. Scotland said the guard left at 11 p.m., allowing the thieves ample time at night to enter the school premises. The guard did not work on weekends either.

Starting the day after the robbery, the Savannah Primary PTA has paid for a security guard for the times when the school would have been otherwise unprotected.

‘We’re paying it now, but we can’t afford to do it indefinitely,’ said Mr. Scotland. ‘We don’t have unlimited funds.’

Mr. Scotland said what was really needed was for the Government to provide security for the school during the evenings and on weekends.

Such security has been requested in the past, but it was unavailable, Mrs. Blackman said.

In the interim, an estimate has been obtained for the placement of burglary bars on the windows.

The serial numbers of all the computers have been recorded and given to the Royal Cayman Islands Police.

Mr. Scotland noted that the thieves might try to sell the computers on the island.

Mrs. Blackman is encouraging public cooperation in resolving the matter.

Anyone with information about the thefts or knowledge about the whereabouts of the computers should call the RCIP at 949-4222; Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIPS; the Bodden Town Police Station at 947-2220; or Savannah Primary School at 947-1344.

Mr. Blackman said the computers are very important to the students. Prior to the theft, there was one computer for every student to use in the computer lab. Now, students have to share computers.

‘That doesn’t always work out too well,’ Mrs. Blackman said.

Like Mr. Scotland, Mrs. Blackman was appalled by the robbery.

‘When you start stealing from children, it’s very sad. It’s robbing their education,’ she said.

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