Thieves put services for Mississippi's disabled on hold

Ceiling where thieves entered.
Ceiling where thieves entered.
Ceiling where thieves entered.
Ceiling where thieves entered.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Officials at a non-profit agency say thieves didn't just steal from them, they took from the whole community. Living independence For Everyone or LIFE of Mississippi helps people with disabilities remove barriers to leading more active lives. The staff said a break-in at the LIFE office has put that mission on hold.

When she moved to the Mississippi Coast to start a new life, Andrea Chancey said LIFE of Mississippi made that transition a lot easier by getting her equipment and job opportunities.

"They got me started with AmeriCorps and when my term was over they helped me find a job in the community," said Chancey.

On Monday, LIFE found out the Biloxi office had been visited by thieves. Officials said the burglars entered a vacant adjoining office then came down through the ceiling.

Cindy Singletary of LIFE said, "We looked toward the offices and found plaster on the floor and looked up and found a big hole. We looked at the desks and that's when we noticed all the laptops had been stolen."

Since the insurance deductible for the five missing laptops is higher than the value of computers, LIFE is forced to make due with its paper files.

"So that's 300 files we have to look at individually and remember what we talked about and what we need to do next," said Singletary. "If we need to email somebody to make a connection, we don't have a computer to do that. We help people with social security and we do applications with them. We can't do that. We're on hold right now. People with disabilities are not able to get service."

Services that disabled people are going without all because of someone's greed.

"They took from the community. The community that we try to serve," said Singletary. "There's one in every five people with disabilities so everybody has one in their family at least. So I just want to say 'Do you have one, robber? Do you have somebody that has a disability in your family? Because you probably just hurt them.'"

If you would like information on how to make a tax deductible donation to LIFE of Mississippi you can call 228-388-2401.

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