Robbers target library

2016-11-22 06:00

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The Ocean View Library is the latest victim of a spate of burglaries in the neighbourhood.

The burglars have also targeted the Ocean View Care Centre, which they have robbed four times, and several churches.

The library was burgled at around 05:00 last Saturday, explains senior librarian Carmen Fowkes.

“They entered via the emergency exit door by cutting it from its hinges. They cut the locks on the security gate and entered the library. The alarm was triggered, but the senior librarian was not contacted.”

The thieves stole four computers and hard drives, she says.

“We opened on Tuesday morning with one computer on the counter for circulation. It was quite a challenge when the library started getting busy and people had to queue because [there was] just one computer,” Fowkes says.

“The library is also the only facility in Ocean View with free internet. When we re-opened on Tuesday, patrons could not type out CVs or print their documents for interviews. In the afternoon the schoolchildren were unable to type out projects or do research on the internet.”

Although the staff referred the visitors to other libraries, many were not willing to travel.

“This has impacted tremendously on the community as well as the staff of the library. We feel violated and the trust in the community tarnished. We’re very disappointed that there are individuals in our community who have no conscience in destroying facilities that can only improve and build it. The children are the ones who suffer and are deprived in the end,” Fowkes says.

Lieutenant-Colonel Errol Merkeur, commander of Ocean View Police Station, confirms the break-in and says regular patrols will continue around the library.

The library has been secured but staff “still don’t feel safe”, Fowkes says.

The library has not been the only target. The Ocean View Care Centre has been targeted for the fourth time, confirms co-founder Marti Weddepohl.

Three of the burglaries took place in the space of a week (“Burglars ‘clean out’ centre”, People’s Post, 1 November).

Thieves stole computers and damaged locks and doors, co-founder Johann Kikillus previously told People’s Post.

He is appealing for donations or help to repair the fence as well as install an alarm system.

Local councillor Patricia Francke says several churches have also been broken into, but those break-ins have not been reported to the police.

“It’s the end of the school year and these burglaries are now affecting our learners’ school performance. People know who the thieves are and must come forward. What are we saying to our youth through incidents like this?”

Francke is appealing to donors to help with replacing the library’s computers or donating educational tablets.

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