Computers, Gifts Stolen From Child Abuse Prevention Center - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/20/05

Computers, Gifts Stolen From Child Abuse Prevention Center

What kind of person would steal from a non-profit agency dedicated to helping South Mississippi's abused and neglected children? That's what staff members at the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse are wondering.

Around three o'clock Wednesday morning, workers say they got a call from Gulfport Police saying that their administrative office had been burglarized.

When they arrived, the staff was horrified to find room after room ransacked and in shambles. It was as if someone took the center and turned it up side down.

"It was devastating. It was an absolute mess. They broke in the front glass to the office so the front office, our reception area was just covered in glass and sand. Just papers and personal effects and office equipment all over the place," Craig Grisoli said.

Workers painstakingly tried to figure out what all the thieves had taken.

"We're missing computers, laptop computers, PCs. Even a bottle of listerine from an employee's desk was taken. Nail clippers from my desk. They cleaned us out pretty good."

Estimates aren't in yet, but Grisoli is sure the loss is in the thousands.

"That's probably one of the most severe blows, because we'd worked hard for several years to get caught up on our technology. We'd recently just secured some funding and some donations where we were able to buy some laptops and upgrade our pcs, get internet service in all our different offices. So this is a complete setback."

The staff says services to children won't suffer because of the burglary, but what bothers them most is wondering who would take from the community's most vulnerable.

"That anybody would steal from you is bad enough, but to steal from a non-profit agency that works with abused children? You wonder what kind of person would stoop that low to do that?"

The Center's director says she's pretty confident that their case files can't be accessed by the thieves because they are password protected.

If you have any information on the burglary, please call the Gulfport Police Department at (228) 868-5959.

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