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Burglars hit Senior Services in South Whidbey
By JUSTIN BURNETT
Burglars struck another blow on South Whidbey, this time to a nonprofit group.
Senior Services of Island County’s South Whidbey Center in Bayview was broken into and the thieves got away with several computers, some cash and other miscellaneous items.
Organization leaders said Senior Services was burglarized before, but it’s been some time and the experience left them rattled.
“We haven’t had a burglary in nearly 10 years,” said Cheryn Weiser, executive director of Senior Services. “It was a little bit of a shock to say the least.”
“You feel like you’ve just been violated,” she said. “The trust you have with the community we serve has been shaken a bit.”
The break-in occurred between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15. The thieves are believed to have entered through a back door, using a flat, sharp object to pry it open.
From there, the burglars made their way through the building prying open doors to locked offices. They made off with three laptops: a grey Dell Latitude, a newer model Dell with a docking station and a 15-inch screen Toshiba. Some cash and a yellow Motorola walkie-talkie with a charger was also taken.
The information contained on the computers includes non-detailed mailing and membership lists. The level of information that may have been compromised is equivalent to that which is commonly found in a phone book, organization officials said. Senior Services of Island County will be following this announcement with notifications to those whose information was involved.
Calls to the Island County Sheriff’s Office for comment were not returned by press time, but Weiser said the burglary was reported and that an investigation is underway.
In the meantime, South Whidbey Center employees are doing their best to make do as replacement computers have not yet arrived.
“It’s certainly a disruption in our service,” Weiser said.
Lynae Slinden, director of South Whidbey Center, has been using her personal computer to conduct business. It’s not the best situation, but the work has to be done, she said. Slinden added that three replacement computers are expected to arrive Wednesday.
Burglaries on South Whidbey are on the rise. Between June 1 and Dec. 11 of 2013, there were 87 residential burglary reports on the South End, from Houston Road south.
That’s a rise of 27 percent from the 63 reported burglaries during the same time period in 2012, and an increase of 39 percent from the 53 burglaries that occurred during the same six months in 2011.
Weiser was aware of the rash of burglaries and wasn’t too excited about joining the ranks of victims.
Weiser is asking anyone with any information about the burglary to call her at 360-331-5703, or contact the Island County Sheriff’s Office.