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Monday, November 14, 2011


Thieves steal $40,000 worth from Mt Clear school

15 Nov, 2011 12:49 AM
Thieves last week stole as much as $40,000 worth of computers and electronic equipment from Ballarat’s Mount Clear Primary School.

The thieves forced their way through a classroom window and stole 20 laptop computers, six iPad tablets and a set of video and still cameras.

Also stolen were two flat-screen televisions – including a 60-inch plasma set delivered to the school only two weeks earlier.

Police believe the burglary took place some time between Friday and Saturday afternoon, with thieves using an earlier break-in to research valuables in the school.

Principal Danny Forrest said the school community was devastated by the theft, because students had raised money to purchase some of the equipment that was stolen.

“It’s been a really terrible way to start the week, explaining to our kids that some people don’t respect the property of others and can do something like this.

“One of our school values is honesty and our students said that the people who broke in clearly didn’t care about being honest,” he said.

In his first term as principal, Mr Forrest and another teacher have been teaching students how to produce and edit short films. He said the project, along with other classes, would be affected by the loss of the equipment.

“The theft has left a pretty obvious scar on the classrooms and it will take some time for us to replace these items.”

Mr Forrest said the integration of technology into the curriculum meant teachers would have to make other arrangements while the items were replaced.

The items were insured by a Department of Education policy.

Detective Senior Constable Jeff Highthorn of Ballarat Police said the investigation was continuing.

“It’s a big concern when they’ve stolen that much from a school that it starts to hinder the education of young pupils.

“Schools have some of the best security around, so it is concerning that people still feel they can break in,” he said.

Students were informed of the break-in at an assembly yesterday, and pupils in grades 5 and 6 had to depart for a camp without cameras.

Mr Forrest said other schools in Ballarat had been warned by education authorities to be vigilant in coming months.

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