Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thieves ransack middle school -- Palo Alto, CA

Continuing a rash of East Palo Alto school burglaries that began in January, thieves ransacked James Flood Magnet School for a second time Tuesday morning, a police sergeant said.

Authorities were called to the school on the 2000 block of Pulgas Avenue around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday, police Sgt. Jeff Liu said. The thieves had rifled through the contents of a dozen classrooms and the school office.

An overhead projector, laptop and an iPod were stolen, Liu said, but a complete list of missing items is still being compiled. "It could grow," he said.

The thieves gained access to the rooms by forcing windows open, breaking one of them in the process, Liu said. The school does not have an alarm system, he noted.

A witness flagged down police officers at Bay Road and University Avenue after seeing two juveniles running from the direction of the school, Liu said. They were wearing dark clothing and carrying duffel bags.

James Flood and other city schools have been recent targets of thieves.

"Anybody who would steal from a school trying to educate young people who are trying to prepare for a bright future is a real lowlife," Liu said.

In mid-February, thieves broke into James Flood and stole about 30 student laptops donated by Hewlett-Packard, two projectors and a mini refrigerator, resulting in a loss of roughly $15,000, according to Principal Cammie Harris.

Harris could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Academy was burglarized three times in March. More than $11,000 in items — including laptops, projectors, and electronic aides for disabled children — were stolen.

Thieves also broke into East Palo Alto Charter School in January and March, taking projectors and document cameras in the former burglary. Police arrested one suspect in the March burglary, but the other escaped.

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