Thieves target area schools

LAWRENCEVILLE - The theft of 17 laptop computers from Pharr Elementary School earlier this week punctuated a spate of electronics robberies from Gwinnett schools.

Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said the laptops stolen Wednesday were among 50 taken from trailers at 20 schools. Other electronics, including 16 graphing calculators, 15 printers, six projectors, three scanners and five other items - such as a digital camera, CD player and television set - were also taken.

"It's a greater than usual number of break-ins in a shorter amount of time," Roach said. "It's unusual activity."

Some of the thieves may have been kids, Roach said, because some school sites were vandalized in addition to the break-ins. Others were too sophisticated to be done by children, she said.

School police officers are investigating the thefts and have told the county police department to be on the lookout for suspicious activity around schools. Roach said other area police were given information on the missing items so they can be tracked if they are sold.

Roach said she did not know how much the thefts would cost the system.

In November 2004, a number of laptops were also stolen from schools. Police made four arrests and recovered 40 computers, Roach said.

The schools items were stolen from are spread across the county, Roach said, making it a little bit harder for investigators.

Schools that were broken into are:

•Simonton Elementary School

•Dacula High School

•Hooper Renwick

•Osborne Middle School

•Britt Elementary School

•Richards Middle School

•Cedar Hill Elementary School

•Creekland Middle School

•Duncan Creek Elementary School

•Bethesda Elementary School

•Kanoheda Elementary School

•Winn Holt Elementary School

•Berkmar High School

•Jackson Elementary School

•Camp Creek Elementary School

•Mountain Park Elementary School

•Mason Elementary School

•Hull Middle School

•Pharr Elementary School

•Centerville Elementary School.