North Philadelphia Community Center Reports Theft And Vandalism - FOX 13 News

North Philadelphia Community Center Reports Theft And Vandalism

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NORTH PHILADELPHIA-Daycare workers at the Lighthouse, a community center in Kensington, showed up for work on Monday to find their building vandalized, and some of their beloved pets missing.

Neighbors believe the alleged thieve was probably helped by the services provided at the long-standing community center in the past.

'We've had break-ins before, but nothing to this extent,” said executive director John Lavery. "They spent the weekend in here. They went through every single room opened every singles door and took what they wanted.”

The thieves allegedly took the kids computers, took the preschoolers’ food from the locked cupboards, freezers, even the vending machine.

"We have 266 preschoolers, we feed everyday 3,4,5, year olds breakfast, lunch and a snack," said Lavery.

They didn't stop there, they took all but one of the kids’ class pets, including hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits they raised from newborn bunnies.

"When you explain why they pet is missing. How do you do that in a way that won't make them afraid to come to school the next day,” said Lavery.

Lavery says Lighthouse is the oldest non-profit community center and for the first time he can remember  people, from preschoolers, jobseekers and seniors around 2nd and Lehigh, were greeted by a "closed" sign, instead of services.

Families with kids in tow stopped by after volunteers helped clean up the mess, the glass, and recovered ruined goods from a cubby hole outside on the grounds strewn with hypodermic needles.

"What's going to happen every teacher will come in and see what's missing radio's artwork what's missing we don't even know really,” said Lavery.

Police are investigating the theft and the Lighthouse Center is expected to re-open on Tuesday morning; however, replacing what was stolen or damaged will be tough for them since most of what they had was donated.

If you have any information, please contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3128.

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