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Theft of $20,000 in Computer Equipment Stings After First 'A' for School

Monday, October 03, 2011 - 05:13 PM

The four-day weekend offered a break for students and teachers, but at one Manhattan elementary school building, it also offered an opportunity for a painful burglary.

New York Police Department officials said that more than $20,000 worth of computer equipment and electronics was stolen from Central Park East II and P.S. 171 Patrick Henry, which share a building on 103rd Street on Manhattan's East Side.

The police said that they could not pinpoint exactly when the thefts occurred — sometime between Saturday and Monday was the estimate — and added that there was no evidence that the building had been broken into. Police officials said that whoever stole the equipment broke locks on the two schools' storage closets.

Twelve MacBook laptops, valued at $1,800 each, were stolen from Central Park East II over the vacation, according to Liz Wolfe, a parent and co-vice president of the fund-raising committee for the parents' association there.

Though the building's alarm was triggered, no one at the school learned of the theft until Monday morning when teachers arrived for work and found a couple of their personal laptops were missing, she said. Nine netbooks, the school's video camera and a teacher's personal camera were also stolen.

Ms. Wolfe, 47, said the break-in was especially painful because Central Park East II had just celebrated its first "A" on the city's annual progress reports, and the new year seemed to be off to a good start.

"We’ve struggled for a lot of years; we’re excelling now," she said. "We’re doing what people say you should be doing and then it’s this major blow that after all that, we got these things taken from us."

The police would not say what was taken from P.S. 171.

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