Winthrop Police and the leadership of the Viking Pride Foundation reported this week that sometime over last weekend the non-profit charitable organizationâ€™s office at Miller Field was broken into by thieves. A laptop computer, which was password protected and is ultimately of no use to the thieves was the only item taken in the break-in.
â€œThe only thing stolen from the office was the laptop, and there was a few hundred dollars of damage to the office door,â€ explained Chief Terence Delehanty. â€œThe actual loss of property wasnâ€™t that great and Viking Pride has reported that there is no personal information on the laptop, only mailing addresses, phone numbers and some other business related information.â€
Delehanty said the charity has offered a $500 reward to anyone who turns in the laptop computer, no questions asked, but said that in the meantime the investigation into the theft is on-going.
â€œWe are checking surveillance cameras from the areas around Miller Field and talking to people in the neighborhood to find the people responsible for the break-in and theft,â€ said Delehanty.
Vincent Crossman, Chairman of Viking Pride, said the theft is disappointing because the organization is a charitable non-profit focused on supporting co-curricular and educational programs in the Winthrop school system.
â€œThe computer isnâ€™t really of much use to whoever stole it,â€ said Crossman. â€œThe hard drive is very well protected and there is no sensitive information there that could not be found in a phone book, but in terms of cost to the organization, weâ€™re a volunteer group and it would take a lot of time to duplicate the information that was stored there and some of the information probably cannot be duplicated.â€
Crossman said that Viking Pride decided to offer the reward, hoping that whoever took it will have a change of heart. However, they are already working on safeguards to make sure that this kind of break-in cannot happen again in the future.
â€œWeâ€™re talking to the school department bout options for protecting the office better and ensuring capture if anyone ever tries this again,â€ he said.
According to the Winthrop Police report, the break-in and theft was discovered and reported to police at about 11:42 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, following the long weekend. The value of the laptop was placed at about $800 and the cost of repairs to the office was estimated at about $250.
â€œItâ€™s disappointing because ultimately, itâ€™s the kids that lose out,â€ said Crossman. â€œIf we have to spend $600 or $800 to replace that computer, then that is less money we have to support the programs weâ€™re here to support. Itâ€™s also kind of disheartening for our volunteers who put in their time trying to make a difference and then have something like this set us back.â€
Crossman added that the theft comes at the worst time for the charity, because October is traditionally when the group starts its membership drive. Without the phone and mailing records saved on the laptop, the membership effort will likely get off to a slow start this year.