Computer gear stolen in raid on school
Thieves have robbed young Invercargill school pupils of valuable educational tools.
The burglars targeted St Patrick's School during the holidays and made off with thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment.
Principal Callan Goodall said he was "gutted" by the thefts which had robbed the pupils of part of their education. Seven MacBook laptops and 11 iPads were stolen.
"I thought some things were sacred. The elderly, churches and schools amongst those," Mr Goodall said. "It is pretty low to have a crack at a local school."
While the school had insurance, its funds would take a hit and more computer equipment would have to be put on hold, Mr Goodall said.
"The excess payment is high and insurance value may not meet replacement costs," Mr Goodall said. "Some of the gear was a bit older and to replace what was stolen with new gear would cost somewhere around $15,000," he said.
Hopefully someone would notice a laptop or iPad in the hands of someone who should not own one or see them for sale online and contact police or the school, Mr Goodall said.
The burglary was discovered when teachers returned to the school to begin preparations for the new year.
Teacher Hannah Rikiti said it was a kick in the guts for the pupils, teachers and the community who helped raise money for the equipment.
"It's the kids who will ultimately suffer," she said.
"The laptops and iPads have all got the kids' own personal work. It's devastating for them to lose hours and hours of hard work." The loss of the equipment would also create extra work for staff.
The apps and programs on the computers and tablets had been specifically designed for individual and group work and would need to be re-done, Ms Rikiti said.
"We will have to think about how to best use the resources we do have left," she said.
Southland police area manager prevention Inspector Olaf Jensen said the burglars forced their way into the locked classrooms.
The theft was a setback for the school, its pupils and parents, he said. Some of the costs would have to come out of parents' pockets and the school budget would be hit.
Anyone with information about the burglary or who had seen suspicious activity near the school during the holidays should contact Invercargill police.
If anyone saw the items being sold on social media or in second-hand shops they should also notify police.
The Southland Times