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P.S. 89 robbed again

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Tragedy has struck P.S. 89 again and the school needs help to replace a boatload of stolen technology equipment.

P.S. 89 has suffered several break-ins in recent years and has lost a devastating number of valuable resources that students depend on; that school budgets are tight hardly helps.

The first break-in occurred roughly four years ago, when some $85,000 in technology equipment was stolen.Since then, P.S. 89 has been targeted over and over. As soon as the school manages to replace stolen items, it seems to be hit again.

The most recent break-in occurred on Wednesday, January 27 at approximately 2:50 a.m.Because a fourth floor alarm was triggered, police and school officials were quick to the scene.

“We’re aware of the situation and we’re going to work on it,” said Captain John Greeley of the 49th Precinct.“The [49th Precinct] school team has been assigned. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it.”

According to P.S. 89 principal Ronald Rivera, 16 computers were stolen on January 27. Eight belonged to an after-school tutoring program and eight to the Department of Education. One SMARTBOARD computer was taken as well.

Although the school boasts alarms on each floor, P.S. 89 requested security cameras to discourage further break-ins some time ago.Councilman Jimmy Vacca has partnered with Rivera to obtain the cameras.

“This is something I’ve worked very hard on with the School Construction Authority and P.S. 89,” Vacca said.“As this latest incident shows, these cameras cannot come soon enough. P.S. 89 has experienced several break-ins and we expect the cameras to address this.”

The SCA plans to begin the installation of cameras at P.S. 89 on Friday, February 12, Vacca was told. The installation should be complete by April.

P.S. 89 parent coordinator Francine Palmieri was appalled when she heard about the January 27 break-in.

“They stole year’s worth of the kids’ education,” Palmieri said. “Our kids use those computers for the online tutoring service program we have.The kids are absolutely devastated. With the security cameras it has been the same song and dance for three years already.We don’t have anything left for these criminals to steal.”

P.S. 89 has been able to pull together enough computers to keep the after-school program running, but the break-in has slowed student progress at the program and in school, Rivera explained.

“It’s disheartening and unfortunate that we have these kind of occurrences in the community, but hopefully once we get the cameras installed we will be able to prevent this in the future,” he said.

School officials have asked that anyone able to help replace the stolen technology equipment reach the school at (718) 653-0835.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at 718 742-3394 or amarinaccio@cnglocal.com

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group