Update: Arbor Heights Elementary burglarized again

FIRST REPORT, 10:04 AM: For the second time in two months, Arbor Heights Elementary has been burglarized. Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson tells WSB the break-in was discovered after an alarm went off around 5 am; officers found a door, hinge pins removed, propped open on the south side of the school, and started searching. Though the final report isn’t in yet, so far, it appears that one classroom was broken into and “a couple computers removed,” according to Det. Jamieson. That’s also what happened at the school two months ago, as reported here November 6th, though we don’t know yet if it was the same classroom. We have an inquiry in with Seattle Public Schools, seeking more details. (Thanks to the WSB’er who tipped us to this by reporting police were seen at the school early today.)

11:50 AM UPDATE: District spokesperson Teresa Wippel says this is not the same classroom as the November break-in mentioned above. So far, they know “at least two Apple computers” were taken this time. The alarm tripped at 4:52 am, and the call got to police within minutes, but the burglar(s) were gone.

4:29 PM UPDATE: More information from SPS’s Wippel: Four computers were stolen today, worth $1,800 each – $7,200 total – “And no budget to replace them. The four stolen last November weren’t replaced either. (Principal) Christy Collins said the kids ‘feel violated’.”

28 Replies to "Update: Arbor Heights Elementary burglarized again"

  • Not Again January 7, 2013 (10:49 am)

    Anyone know which classroom it was this time?

  • KH January 7, 2013 (11:33 am)

    Our schools are already underfunded and IMO an afterthought in the big picture. Who steals from children like this? Heartless.

  • AH Parent January 7, 2013 (12:00 pm)

    This is SO frustrating! 8 computers have now been stolen from our school. These computers are used by students all-day, everyday. The district says the computers WILL NOT be replaced because they are self-insured. What message does this send to our students, teachers and community?
    It’s time that SPS adds security cameras (and updated security technology) to ALL elementary schools in the district.

  • Guy January 7, 2013 (12:27 pm)


  • pam January 7, 2013 (12:58 pm)

    When this happened 12 years ago or so it was ex-students who thought they were being cute. They thought they were so cute they came back to visit the next day and were oh so busted!

  • kayo January 7, 2013 (1:03 pm)

    Scum of the earth. Makes me so mad.

  • Jim P. January 7, 2013 (2:11 pm)

    I think they need to get someone new to handle physical security. Exposed hinges with removable pins means you might as well not bother locking the door.

    If I was their insurer, I’d deny the claim on that basis. You have to take some responsibility for actually securing stuff.

  • Bonnie January 7, 2013 (2:19 pm)

    Jim P, this school needs to be rebuilt. The district is ignoring any issue with this building and now you are blaming our school for having it broken into when the district doesn’t bother to even keep the school up?

  • Not Again January 7, 2013 (2:28 pm)

    There are 2 additional Seattle Police tweets from today that reference “commercial burglary (includes schools)” in addition to the report from Arbor Heights. Those are listed at 45xx of California and at 90xx Myers Way S. Any word on what these reports are or if they are possibly related?

    • WSB January 7, 2013 (3:04 pm)

      No, separate calls. The one on Myers checks to a church in the area – will check on that. Not sure about the 4500 California SW. Please keep in mind re: police tweets – they document calls, not necessarily confirmed crimes. And the reports generally aren’t out for a few hours. The “schools” notation is just part of the coding (I have a long story about coding that didn’t reflect the actual story in one case at all, that’s just the way the codes go – we’ve been suggesting a glossary feature) … TR

  • the dancing kat January 7, 2013 (3:26 pm)

    This just sucks! I went to Arbor Heights many moons ago and have many fond memories from my childhood associated with the school. What losers steal their own future?!

  • AH Parent January 7, 2013 (4:59 pm)

    @Bonnie is right on. Arbor Heights needs to be rebuilt ASAP! We have a very serious building security issue on our hands that isn’t going away until the district decides to prioritize safety & security (vs. overcrowding).
    The unfortunate situation is that all of our elementary schools are at risk for break-ins (only our middle schools and high schools have video surveillance cameras), yet severely outdated buildings such as Arbor Heights are at greatest risk. These issues must be appropriately addressed immediately. In the mean time, I hope the district places a security guard or police officer on site after-hours.

  • RunnerGirl January 7, 2013 (5:06 pm)

    I have a 5 year old Dell laptop that’s just sitting around collecting dust. It’s not the latest and greatest, but it’s better than nothing. I’m happy to donate it if the school would like to have it.

  • Laura January 7, 2013 (5:37 pm)

    Could a community fundraiser help replace these?

  • Jill Loblaw January 7, 2013 (8:12 pm)

    I second Laura’s idea.

  • Frustrated Parent January 7, 2013 (8:16 pm)

    Unbelievable. The PTSA gets a grant for new computers because the district can’t afford it, but the district can’t protect its buildings, and the district doesn’t have insurance. No business would operate like this, and yet that’s what we get with our current school funding levels.

  • AHdaddy January 7, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    Bonnie called it.

    The state has been found guilty of underfunding and neglecting their public education obligations. Their response is essentially. “What are you gonna do sue us?” And don’t fall back on the argument that people just don’t want to pay because Seattle is very good at approving school levies. Even though I am not for it I understand why school vouchers have gained traction.

  • AH Neighbor January 7, 2013 (9:12 pm)

    I am sad for the students and faculty. Wish peoples moral compass was better directed-stealing from kids is the lowest of low.

  • StringCheese January 7, 2013 (10:50 pm)

    Could someone please explain the insurance situation in more detail?

  • Longtime AH resident January 7, 2013 (11:47 pm)

    Dispicable. Anyway us arbor heights people can get together and start a fundraiser?? It is what we AH parents and residents do best.

  • Bonnie January 8, 2013 (6:59 am)

    StringCheese, I believe that since the district is self insured that they don’t actually have insurance but proved that they have enough money on hand in case of an emergency. So the district is CHOOSING not to replace the computers.

  • Bonnie January 8, 2013 (7:01 am)

    On the other hand, I have to wonder if a few computers were stolen out of the offices downtown I assume they would be replaced ASAP. But that wouldn’t happen because they have secure buildings. What is to say that it is safe for our children? It takes 23 minutes for the police to get there. If it’s that easy to get the doors off…just saying…

  • StringCheese January 8, 2013 (3:06 pm)

    Bonnie, thank you for clarifying. That bites. Royally. I don’t imagine that any insurer in their right mind would insure a building in AH’s condition anyway. Wow.

  • derrick January 8, 2013 (3:15 pm)

    If they are spending $1800 per computer they are paying waaaaaaaay too much

  • Ann January 9, 2013 (11:43 am)

    Unfortantely the school is an easy target and did not take much effort to get in.

    I was told that the district security did not even respond to first alarm alert during the previous burglury.

    I heard that the district won’t cover the losses, is that true?

  • Paget January 9, 2013 (4:30 pm)

    It is unfortunate for the children to lose their resources, but it also seems rather senseless to replace any computers that are not going to be secured. While the entire building is not going to be rebuilt any time soon, why not have one windowless room with double locking deadbolts or something along that line? Laptops are small, they could be moved out of the classrooms at the day’s end without a huge amount of effort.

  • AH Parent January 10, 2013 (10:55 am)

    The computers were taken (2nd time) from Mr Fisks class. My son is his student. It’s not surprising – the classrooms are easy targets on that side with the extra door leading out, bushes hiding the chain link fence etc, low traffic street. I assume someone has knowledge of what’s in the rooms or can you see it all from outside? Most of the windows are so fogged up I am not sure what you can or can’t see.

  • Ann January 11, 2013 (11:04 am)

    The classrooms have blindes that are put down every night. The laptops were secured and the theives had a fair amount of time to unsecure and take them. The building is in bad shape and the district needs to do the right thing and help make the building more secure. It is also a safety issue for staff staying after hours to work. The building may not be rebuilt for many years and some upgrades need to be made ASAP to secure the building.

Sorry, comment time is over.