Non-profit needs help after multiple burglaries

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 non-profit organization is asking for help from the public after multiple burglaries at the organization's offices in Osceola.

Focus, Inc. CEO Sabrina Woodson said the burglaries occurred between Monday night and Tuesday morning at the two Focus Early Childhood Program centers located about a block away from each other on East Hale and South Ash.

Focus, Inc. is a non-profit early intervention program for children and adults with developmental disabilities, particularly those with severe disabilities.

"Seven-thirty this morning I received a call saying our building had been broken into. I got here and the door had been kicked in," said Linnie Heard.

Linnie Heard is the director of the two Focus, Inc. where they teach pre-school to kindergarten age children with developmental delays.>

"Right now our hands are tied. There's nothing we can do today because our computers are gone and down."

At the time police officers took the reports, employees reported a small amount of cash, a 42-inch flat screen television and a state-issued laptop stolen.

Heard said the laptop contains students' personal information.

"The children's name, addresses, birthdays, social security card, medicaid cards, the doctors' information," she said. "We have to get on the computer every, every day in order to keep everything updated, keep the information updated. That's how we do our referral conference, our annual conference, our evaluations, everything that is on that computer."

Heard said no one can get to the information unless the person knows her password.

Other items Heard said are missing from the South Ash location are a television, a scanner, and a camera, and a digital camera and photo frame from the East Hale location.

Osceola Chief of Police David Gladden said police do have leads in the investigation.

"(We are) hoping to process some evidence, and hopefully make an arrest, but if anybody has information to help us with this or tips we would appreciate a phone call."

"When people come in and jeopardize what we're trying to do for these children it's not hurting us it's hurting the children when we can't give them or supply them with the things that they need," Heard said.

Anyone with information can call the Osceola Police Department at (870) 563-5213.

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