Break-in Halts Jumpstart
September 21, 2004 4:17 PM
A repeat break-in leaves non-profit program in danger of temporary closure.
Over the weekend, an unidentified suspect broke into the HSS building, where the non-profit coalition Jumpstart is located and stole a computer, laptop and fax machine
For the second time in two weeks their office has been broken into. Seven digital cameras, a pocket personal computer and one video camera were stolen during the September 11th weekend.
“Our program can’t function now because they’ve stolen everything,” said Jumpstart site director Lygia Stebbing.
“They busted into five different offices this weekend--there’s no way to secure our office or equipment.”
Since the program is uninsured by the university, Jumpstart is left without any resources to continue their work. The mentoring staff won’t be paid on time because the coordinators don’t have the computer resources to enter and complete their pay roll, said Cindy Cervantes, the associate site director.
“This is the second time this has happened and all campus police told us to do was lock our windows,” said Cervantes. “It hurts because our organization is for kids from low-income communities, so stealing from us is like stealing from those kids.”
Campus police are in possession of a videotape of the suspect from the first break-in, but are in the process of reviewing the surveillance tape.
“We have no suspects at this time,” said Sgt. Jennifer Schwartz of the campus police. “The investigation is still fresh.”
Jumpstart is aimed at providing mentoring and financial literacy education for students. The program pairs college students with low-income kindergarten through 12th graders for one year working on language, literacy and social skills.
The camera equipment stolen from the program was used to create picture books for the kids in the program, while the computer equipment stolen was used to store lesson plans for students and calculate Jumpstart’s payroll, said Stebbing.
“It’s ridiculous that this has happened again,” said Cervantes. “It is the worst time that this could have happened because we are still recovering from budget cuts.”
Team leader and mentor for the program, Alecsis Ducusin, is upset with the lack of action from campus police.
“These kids already lack a lot of things,” said Ducusin. “They look up to us for supplies and support and we don’t have anything for them now.”
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