Thieves Steal 39 Laptops

Despite the seeming calm and quiet outside St. Frances de Chantal school on the day before classes began, NYPD detectives and forensics teams were combing through the school and surrounding area looking for clues into the heist of 39 laptop computers. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

St. Frances de Chantal school wanted its computer lab cleaned, not cleaned out.

Over Labor Day weekend, a what seems to be a callous group of thieves broke into St. Frances de Chantal school and stole 39 laptop computers and a smart-board projector, just as students were about to return to school after summer break.

Maintenance personnel discovered the theft of the 39 computers on the morning of Tuesday, September 2, just as the computer lab was to be cleaned.

Police responded immediately, and the computer lab was dusted for fingerprints as detectives from the 45th Precinct began an active investigation, which is ongoing.

“I think it is a shame that on the first day of school students will not be able to have computer class, and computers to work on to complete their assignments,” said Monsignor Ivers, who made the initial phone call to the police. “Now these tools, which we use to educate children, will not be available for the start of our school year.”

Ivers stated that he anticipates it will take months to get replacement computers, as he will now have to make an insurance claim.

Ivers said it was likely that the thieves had some sort of inside knowledge of the layout in the school, because no other rooms beside the computer lab were touched. He believes it is possible that a visitor to the school may have tipped off someone as to where the computers were stored.

“We had just caught up to recent technological advancements, and our equipment was really up to snuff,” said Debra Trignani, the principal of the grades K through eight school. “Now, we don’t have anything to give the kids; they really loved computer class.”

Trignani noted that it is highly unlikely that the theft was caused by anyone on staff, saying that she has complete confidence in her crew of maintenance people and the rest of the school’s personnel.

“We are going to have to cancel computer classes, probably for the first month or possibly longer,” Trignani stated. “We have no idea how they got into the school, the police are currently investigating the matter thoroughly.”

Trignani said that more than 300 students use the computer room, and that it she expects them to be somewhat disappointed about the incident.

“We are going to have to take one-day at a time,” Trignani noted. “Maybe they will be recovered, who knows.”

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