D.C. schools dealing with rash of burglaries

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -{ }{ }Since the beginning of the school year, 16 D.C. schools have been burglarized. Now police are investigating to see if the crimes are linked.{ }

Outraged residents held a community meeting Wednesday night and learned thieves had stolen over $40,000 worth of electronics from Ballou High School and Savoy Elementary School in late November alone.

“When you take from our kids you’re taking their education, you're taking the material that’s helping them to progress,” says Queen Stoute, Savoy Elementary PTA president.

It's only gotten worse over time. Police say there were two burglaries in August, one in September, six in October, and eight more since mid-November. Southeast appears to be the hardest area hit.

“I was surprised,” says Doranna Tindle, principal of Friendship Technology Academy. “I felt violated just as if someone had entered my home.”

Community activists and neighbors say police and school security need to be more vigilant. The Savoy Elementary nighttime burglary went unreported for nine hours as school security ignored alarms they thought were malfunctioning.

“The system, particularly the school system, seems to need to do an overhaul of its security operation,” says Arrington Dixon.

The school system is installing tracking devices in their computers to help retrieve them should they be stolen. Charter school authorities say some of the stolen electronics ended up on Craigslist and eBay. Only three of the 16 cases have been closed with an arrest.