Bronx school targeted by thieves for second time

June 1, 2011 2:49:42 PM PDT
A school in the Bronx was ripped off during a heist over Memorial Day weekend, and it was the second time the school was hit in the last two weeks.

Thieves stole dozens of laptops and other high-tech equipment from PS 73 on Anderson Avenue in the Highbridge section.

There is so much sadness in the neighborhood now, because PS 73 is located in one of the poorest districts in all of New York City, and all the equipment was brand new for the kids. It was purchased just last year with money received from a grant. Many of the students and teachers had an entire year's worth of work on the computers, from report cards to exams and grades. Now, the records and all that achievement are gone.

"Technology is very important now," parent Irma Belcore said. "And because of the chaos that happened, now the children have no technology in the school."

Devastated parents, teachers and students can't understand who would stoop so low.

In the last week, thieves broke into the Highbridge Elementary School not once, but twice. They stole new sound equipment and more than 100 laptop computers used by all 950 students. The laptops are used for everything from reading and writing to math.

"They write their papers, or to do research, all to become more technology-inclined and literate," assistant principal Craig Monteverde said.

Teachers and staff also had personal laptops stolen, equipment used to grade and monitor academic achievement.

"I can't believe that somebody in here would be so heartless," UFT Chapter Representative Genevieve Moralez said. "I don't want to believe that, so I don't even want to go in that direction, to think it's an inside job."

And authorities say that's a distinct possibility, since there were two incidents within just a few days. The first incident happened on May 23, and the second on Memorial Day. It is unclear how the suspects gained entry, but once they were inside, they cut locks to get access to keys that were in the building.

The school is located in a very busy residential neighborhood. Investigators are hoping that someone saw something that will lead them to those responsible.