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Raleigh schools suffer rash of robberies

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At the start of the Easter break, security has been stepped up at three Raleigh schools that have been targets of repeated break-ins.

Wednesday, an estimated $20,000 worth of tablets, laptops and other high-end electronic equipment were stolen from Enloe High.

That follows a string of incidents at Powell and Conn elementary schools, where tens of thousands of similar items have been stolen in break-ins that have taken place since January.

"We've heard the alarms go off early in the morning and we see the security truck from the school," said Shirley Wright, who lives near the Powell school.

The thefts are upsetting to students and they have outraged others.

"These are young minds we're trying to educate. Why are you trying to take something from children?" asked Wright.

The break-ins have happened at nights and on weekends, and at Powell there are now signs on some classroom windows warning the room is under video surveillance.

But there is a more heart-wrenching sign too, a hand-lettered one in a child's script that says simply: Stop robbing.

"When resources are being taken from our schools, those are resources that could be utilized in other ways in our classrooms," said Wake County schools security director Russ Smith.

Around the three schools that have been targeted, WNCN observed the obvious presence of both school security, as well as marked Raleigh police cruisers patrolling the grounds Thursday night.

The thieves are brazen, smashing windows in schools that are alarmed and under video monitoring. They grab what they want and are out before police and security can reach the scene.

"It's highly likely that we have some of the same individuals involved in multiple break–ins," said Smith.

School officials are asking for the public's help, especially if the gear shows up on the streets.

"The items should be tagged with 'Wake County Public School System,' as well as the serial numbers," explained Smith.

The thefts do more than steal valuable education resources from the kids, Wright said.

"Things are really in a crunch right now and our kids don't deserve this," she said. "I don't understand what they're getting out of stealing stuff from children."

School officials are asking anyone with information to call 919-834-HELP

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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