Elementary school burglarized for 8th time

Cameras may catch crooks

At some point over the weekend, someone broke in to Calusa Elementary School in New Port Richey.
Windows were smashed.  Computers and electronics were stolen.  
A maintenance supervisor discovered the burglary during a walk-through.  
He was checking things, because the school is a frequent target.
"This is the 8th time.  It's very frustrating to have these kids keep coming back," said school district spokesperson Linda Cobbe.
Authorities have already arrested members of a group they say worked together to steal from various schools in the area, including Calusa Elementary.
But the crimes continue. Just last week, 20 laptops and six desktops were taken from Long Middle School in Wesley Chapel.
And now Calusa was hit again.  They say they don't know if this latest burglary is connected.
The district says it realized from past incidents, its surveillance cameras weren't doing the job.  So workers installed new ones at the school, which officials say captured good images of the people who broke in.
The sheriff's office says those images give them confidence they'll be able to catch the crooks.
"I think they think they are outsmarting us. But between the Sheriff's office and the school district we will not be outsmarted," said Cobbe.
The district says it took advice from sheriff's office and others, but won't reveal what security changes were made in the wake of all these break-ins.
But thefts of IPads, lap tops and other items have cost about $200,000 so far.
"It's valuable, but some of the technology needed to track it is very expensive as well.  So we have to look at how we can achieve our goals of catching these guys without breaking the bank," said Cobbe.
Officials with eht school district say the goal is to put new cameras at as many schools as possible.  But right now they are focusing resources on the places where problems seem to be worst.


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