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Sep 4, 2018

Red Cross Belmopan Office Burglarized

On Monday, we reported on the burglary of the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired office in Belmopan. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment as well as computers and office supplies were stolen including specialized eye care equipment. B.C.V.I.’s Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistant was the one who made the discovery when he reported to work on Monday morning. But B.C.V.I. was not the only target; thieves also emptied the adjoining Belize Red Cross Belmopan office. The thieves sawed away the burglar bars, before removing louvers to access the building. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Sometime over the weekend, thieves broke into the Belmopan office of the Belize Red Cross. It is a callous crime against the humanitarian organization that has been serving the country for decades in times of disasters as well as assisting less fortunate families and children. The discovery was made on Monday, when staffers reported to work. They would realize that the entire place, had been ransacked and equipment such as a recently purchased washing machine, laptops, first-aid kits, as well as wall fans and had radios had been stolen.

 

Maria Pena, Administrator, Belize Red Cross (Belmopan)

Maria Pena

“I got a message and they told me to come to the Red Cross because they had broken into the place. So I hurriedly came and by the time I came the police were already here and they were already processing the scene and I saw some of my mugs outside because they were dusting it and cleaning it to get the fingerprints. And I couldn’t get into the building but afterwards I asked can I peep, when I peep I just felt, I can’t explain how I felt. Then they gave us the go ahead to come inside and when I came inside I went into the kitchen and I can see that from all the lockers they have taken out all the plates and the cups, everything even my glasses. Just set them down and I think they were maybe coming back again and all the seasonings some of the ones that were already used were there. But all the ones that we had just bought the week before, they were gone. All the fridge was peel, empty they went with all our vegetables, everything that we had here. Even the meat that we were going to cook for the children was gone. After I went to the kitchen I went to bathroom I found that they had gone with our new washing machine, we had some mattresses they had already put it down I think

they were coming for it too. I noticed that tin the parlour the big parlour that I call it, they had gone with our TV.”

Maria Pena has been working with the Red Cross for years now. She says that it is not the first time that the organization’s Belmopan office has been targeted by thieves. It is even more heartbreaking because, even as the burglars ransacked her office and took her cash pan with an undisclosed amount of money, they also stole the rations used in its feeding programme for primary school children of the community.

 

Maria Pena

“This morning one of our ex-workers she came and she brought us some vegetable, we have a pantry and we had some meat in there so that is what we are using today. And they already came and donated 2 standing fans and so people are calling that they will come and donate.”

Duane Moody

“How many kids to you cater to?”

 

Maria Pena

“Well before we left for the holidays we had thirty-five but after that we have some children that are graduating from Standard six and they were going to Compre or High School. So right now we actually don’t know much because yesterday was supposed to be the first day. And they were coming so I would have had an idea but right now I don’t have any idea how much will be coming today.”

According to Pena, the thieves gained access to the offices through a window to the rear of the building. That window has since been temporarily sealed with zinc. They are now looking at other measures to secure the property.

 

Maria Pena

“Through the back windows; it seems like it was a child they out in there because they cut the bar and it seems that it was a child because the hole was very small. When you go in there you will notice a small little opening. Tight now I don’t know what will become of this so last night we had someone sleep in the building and after this we have to get together with the executive to see what will be our plans.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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