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Vandals break into, burglarize Boys and Girls Club
By Elizabeth Celms
Mercer Island Reporter.
Unknown vandals broke into the Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club last Friday night, stealing and destroying thousands of dollars worth of electronics and equipment. The Mercer Island Police are currently investigating the burglary, which occurred some time after 11 p.m. on Jan. 23. Employees discovered the vandalism when they showed up for work the following morning.
According to Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club director Blair Rasmussen, nearly every room in the building had been ransacked. Kicking down doors and smashing windows as they went, the thieves stole electronic equipment such as digital cameras, a laptop, and a projection system. They left bigger equipment destroyed.
"Any locked door they found was kicked through. Offices were riffled through, cupboards, drawers," Rasmussen said. "One of the large screen TVs the kids use was destroyed. A computer monitor was destroyed. What they couldn't carry, they smashed."
Visitors to the club on Thursday found the outdoor pop machine smashed and torn to pieces. Several glass windows were missing, others had already been repaired. Nearly every lock in the building -- upstairs and down -- had been broken apart. A large closet door in the downstairs corridor swung cracked and broken. A small children's trampoline had been slashed with a knife. The monitor of Rasmussen's office computer had been punched in, as well as the large-screen TV in the "teen room."
The thieves had unsuccessfully attempted to break into the club safe, yet managed to mangle the combination lock enough that a locksmith had to be called in to fix it. Luckily, the Boys and Girls club had some back-up electronic equipment in the safe to provide children over the weekend.
"We were able to clean up on Saturday and activities went on," Rasmussen said. Yet the violent vandalism permeated the usually buoyant club atmosphere.
"It's disheartening and frustrating. It's hard to understand why somebody would come in there and do the destruction they did," Rasmussen said. "Somebody just had a joyride through the club."
Most of the stolen equipment and vandalism will be covered by insurance. The Club is currently assessing the damage, while police are conducting a case investigation. The Reporter will update the story as information unfolds.