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Aug 20, 2012

Belize Red Cross victim of burglary

Thieves have no limits or boundaries when selecting targets and just before dawn on Sunday, the Belize Red Cross, the humanitarian organization that provides relief for residents affected by disasters, was burglarized. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies were stolen and the culprits ransacked the offices while avoiding the cameras and the alarms of Elite Security. The burglars went through the roof and burst through the ceiling and walls to gain access. Since the staff and volunteers have returned to their headquarters in February of this year, the office has been targeted by burglars several times.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Thieves struck at the headquarters of the Belize Red Cross located at the corner of Gabourel Lane and Daly Street in Belize City. Over thirty-five thousand dollars worth of equipment was stolen. The burglars gained access to the building through the roof. They allegedly scaled an antenna tower located behind the building and pried open the zinc while avoiding triggering the alarms. The daunting discovery was made this morning.

 

Lily Bowman

Lily Bowman, Executive Director, Belize Red Cross

“Our offices that are kept locked were ransacked by burglars. All electronic equipments were stolen. This includes a lot of desktops, laptops—the majority were laptops, hard-drives, the fax machines, radios, hand-held radios that we used in disaster time and other supplies that we have in our offices. They entered through the roof, board through the ceiling and got into my office and went with everything that is electronic including all my seven and a half years of work on my computer. Then they went back through the ceiling into the disaster relief office. They board through the wall, got in, stacked up our cabinets to get in; stole what electronics things they can and they board through to the wall into the finance officer’s office where we keep a lot more electronic items locked up. They try to pry open a small vault that we had—luckily there was nothing in there. They just made a mess of our place and set us back many years.”

 

Executive Director of the Belize Red Cross, Lily Bowman, says that the burglary is devastating as they have lost all the data for most of the current projects that the organization is involved in. She says this has set them back several years.

 

Lily Bowman

“We have ongoing projects in the Jane Usher Boulevard Area, Hattieville, Western Paradise and other communities in Belize including the flooding up north. Since Thursday our volunteers have been out morning noon and night assisting and completing assessments. They have been assisting the people who have suffered from the floods; giving them blankets, jericans, buckets, cleaning items food and other stuff to help them out and while their doing that, the headquarters is being burglarized.”

 

The staff and volunteers at the Red Cross were just recovering from an arson six months ago in December of 2010 which destroyed the interior of the building. But why would anyone want to target the organization known for its humanitarian efforts? Bowman says there were several burglary attempts at the headquarters.

 

Lily Bowman

“Our whole office inside was lit on fire. We had to be out of this office for over a year. we just moved back about five months ago having spent money to renovate. I don’t know why; I really don’t know why. After the fire, they had attempted twice again. But I don’t know why they are targeting the Red Cross.”

 

Bowman says that the organization does not have the resources to replace the stolen equipment. And the loss of the extensive data is invaluable.

 

Lily Bowman

“We don’t have any resources to replace them. They were mainly purchased through the same projects that we are implemented in Belize and all Coastal Communities. But the data that we’ve collected over the months, over the years, those are priceless and they are gone. What will the thieves do with it, I don’t know. I mean it cannot be of any use to them. It is of use to us to know how to help our people here in Belize—the vulnerable people that we serve every single day. That is the priceless part of it.”

 

Bowman says that the incident is depressing to the point that it seems to be chasing the organization out of its home. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

According to Lily Bowman, around two-fifty a.m. the alarm blazed into the night and Elite Security dutifully notified the police. The police department responded, but officers said that everything appeared normal.

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3 Responses for “Belize Red Cross victim of burglary”

  1. Storm says:

    This is truly a crime against the nation. Red Cross serves all Belizeans in time of emergency. The crime deserves extra punishment.

    It also seems like it was an inside job, or the criminals were incredibly lucky to avoid the security cameras.

    Catch them, lock them up for at least 10 years.

  2. Simone says:

    how good is elite security when they were passed over-literally? they should be sued for the loss

  3. chelsy says:

    que tristesa lo que paso

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