Burglars target preschool

Burglars damaged the classroom ceilings.

Staff at a Belgravia preschool are fed up with frequent break-ins.

The Belgravia Early Childhood Development Centre in Veld Road has been burgled about 50 times since it opened 27 years ago, but the break-ins are becoming more frequent of late, with sometimes up to two a month, according to principal Shareen Isaacs.

The latest break-in happened in the last week of June when the centre was closed because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Burglars broke through the classroom ceilings. They didn’t get any of the equipment, but they ripped out the lights and cut alarm and electrical wires, leaving the school without electricity. They also stole the fire extinguishers. The damage means the school has remained closed despite ECDs getting the go-ahead on Monday July 6 to reopen.

Ms Isaacs said the school struggled to recover each time there was a break-in. The damage caused by the latest one was more than R100000, she said.

“All the work that was done during our revamp in November last year is now lost.”

“The revamp included the floors and ceilings being redone, the whole building being secured and painted and we replaced all the old lighting. This is really an ongoing battle, and we have no suspicion of who it is,” she said.

“I really don’t know if we can carry on like this. This costs us a great sum of money every time. We do have an alarm system, but every time they break in the company says they do not get the signal. This really brings us down every time. We would like to open up again, but it is difficult as we can’t set up the classrooms like we are supposed to. We are in lockdown so we are unable to have our regular fund-raisers and generate some money.”

Ms Isaacs appealed for help from anyone who was willing to help repair the school.

Athlone police spokeswoman Sergeant Zita Norman said police had no leads yet but patrolled the area regularly because it was a hot spot for break-ins.