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Charity hit by thieves

A charity that helps feed Bermuda's needy is struggling to carry out its work after it was targeted by thieves.

Three laptop computers were taken in the raid on the Eliza DoLittle Society's office on Cobbs Hill Road in Warwick last weekend.

And the theft — one of several in the parish in recent weeks — has prompted one Warwick MP to issue a rallying cry for residents to take a stand against criminals.

Eliza DoLittle Society executive director Margaret Ward said she believed the charity was targeted over the weekend after holding a tag day on the Friday.

Evidence at the crime scene suggested that the burglars had carried out a thorough search of the property, possibly in the hope of finding hundreds of dollars in cash stored in tag day collection tins.

And while the charity's organisers had had the good sense to hide their tag day takings elsewhere, the thieves did not get away empty-handed, taking three computers and four $50 food vouchers. Two of the computers were brand new.

The society works in tandem with donors and charities, providing them with meals for their clients. This month it was running a food drive as part of its objective “to make hunger history”.

“Because we serve Bermuda's hungry — by distributing food to any charity that needs it — the loss of the computers means that we can't really do our work properly,” Ms Ward said.

She added that, since the theft, she has had to liaise with other groups by sending e-mails from her smart phone.

“It's causing a great deal of inconvenience and frustration,” Ms Ward said.

“People are trying to get in contact saying that they need food and the fact that we don't have computers is slowing everything down.

“We just can't afford to just give away those computers and we're hoping that anyone who finds them will realise that they're stolen and belong to us.”

Asked what she thought about the thieves, Ms Ward said: “I pray for them because they are obviously people with needs, whether its drugs or whatever.

“But to steal from a charity that feeds people in poverty, what they are really doing is stealing from their own.”

A police spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service advises any organisation conducting a fundraising drive to deposit collected monies at a bank directly after the conclusion of the event, if possible.

“Alternatively, the collected monies should be secured at a location other than the hosting organisation's office, to be deposited at the earliest opportunity.”

Warwick West MP Jeff Sousa last night warned that Bermuda could become an island of barred windows, barbed wire and security lighting unless residents joined together to crack down on crime.

He said he had spoken to a number of elderly constituents who dare not leave their property after dark for fear of break-ins.

“I would urge the people of Bermuda to be much more vigilante and to really take a look out for their neighbourhoods,” Mr Sousa said.

“We have a choice. We have this lovely island, but if we don't pay attention as a people, we're going to go down the same path as the West Indies and Central America, where everywhere is a gated community, with bars on windows.

“At the moment in Bermuda today, we're probably only talking about two percent of homes that have bars on the widows, but I would ask my brothers and sisters — do they think that Jamaica always had bars on their windows and doors? It happened over a number of decades, but this is the start of it. If people in Bermuda start getting broken into all the time, that's what they're eventually going to do.”

Mr Sousa recommended that residents set up Neighbourhood Watch schemes and become more involved in their communities

“People will say that times have changed, but in this respect we have to get back to where we were before,” he said.

“We have to come together. Get to know your neighbours, be vigilante and set up Neighbourhood Watch schemes.”

Photo by Glenn Tucker Executive Director Margaret Ward and Chief Operations Officer Terry Batersbee stand in front of the Eliza DoLittle Society on Cobbs Hill Road in Warwick which was hit by thieves last weekend.

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Published October 15, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 15, 2013 at 12:16 am)

Charity hit by thieves

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