Bandits walked away with a laptop computer, flash drives and pledges after breaking into the office of the National Community Foundation (NCF). It is alleged that thieves broke in from the back of the building by breaking down several doors before making their way into the office.
The National Community Foundation which has over the past ten years undertaken charitable work had just concluded its annual National Telethon and was still in the process of receiving pledges. According to the NCF’s Executive Director, Julianna Alfred, upon arrival at the office at about 7:30am, she was stunned and struck with disbelief after noticing that several doors leading into the office were broken.
Alfred says the crime is very distressing to all staff given the mandate of the non-profit work undertaken by the NCF. She says by now she would have hoped most if not all St Lucians would be fully aware of the work the NCF undertakes.
“It is very distressing as you can imagine because the NCF is a non-profit organization because we basically get donations from individuals and the community to be able to do community work. To see that an individual or individuals have basically taken from the NCF, it is very distressing.
“It basically puts the organization back a little bit, in terms of having to now replace the items that were stolen. We have identified a laptop which has information relating to the work of the NCF, flash drives which contained back-up data, a camera and pledges which were brought in the afternoon before,” said Alfred.
While it is not customary to hold large sums of money at the office, the Director says the pledges were kept there because all banks were closed at the time the individuals made their donations.
“We are still trying to determine what else was stolen. It is distressing for the people that we help because it means that the organization is going to be unable to provide service for a few days. People come to us for medical support, for educational assistance and these critical needs have to be set aside as we try to get the office back in good working condition. So it is really disturbing for us.”
Alfred says this is cause for much discussion between board members as to whether the office will remain at its present location. Additionally, she says tight security measures will be required to help prevent such crimes from happening in the future and also to protect the staff who are still shaken up by the incident.
She says the Foundation believed in the past that given the nature of its work there was no need for stand in security and adds that anyone with an appreciation of the amount of service the NCF gives to the community could not have committed such a thoughtless act.
The Director is urging all St Lucians to call the nearest police station if someone attempts to sell them something which they believe may be a stolen item from her operations. Police are currently investigating the break in.