Savoy Elementary burglary goes unsolved and uninvestigated, activists say

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Several members of the Southeast Washington community are teaming up to track down the suspects behind the burglary of an elementary school, a crime they believe is being overlooked because of where it happened.

A full week before a Salvation Army mission on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue Southeast was burglarized of $10,000, somebody broke into nearby Savoy Elementary School and got away with $40,000 worth of computers and televisions.

That robbery happened at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 24, and authorities confirm that the suspects spent a full hour hauling electronics away. No one who should have been monitoring the situation at the school system's security headquarters ever called police.

Instead, the school's janitors contacted MPD officials the next morning. And while an arrest was made last week in the Salvation Army burglary, there has been no movement or surveillance video in this burglary.

That's got community activists like Phil Pannell outraged.

"It's important that the public school system releases the videotape so that we can see these folks that did this to this school," Pannell said.

Andrew Cho, the owner of a grocery store across from Savoy Elementary, said authorities seemed uninterested in surveillance tape from his store. He says it shows a car, believed to be driven by the suspects, fleeing the area.

He called detectives and invited them to look at it, but after three weeks and no perceived interest, the video recycled and disappeared.

"We could have had them," Cho said. "That's what's more frustrating that anything else. We had everything, and I'm more pissed off (that) somebody's not doing their job by coming up here and taking a report."

Savoy, which serves 387 students on its Shannon Place Southeast campus, is the place where First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Kerry Washington paid a visit last may. Washington specifically has adopted the school in a mentorship program, but activist complain that when something like this happens, people don't care.