VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County deputies are searching for the person who broke into Derbyshire Place and stole eight laptops on Saturday.
Executive Director Miguel Rodriguez said the suspect broke in through the back of the building and within minutes, swiped the electronics that the center received as a donation just two months ago.
"The window opens up very easily and he was just able to stick his hand through and open up the door. He had full access, unfortunately, to everything that we have," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said his mother-in-law noticed the laptops missing when she dropped off a donation. He said she called and asked if he had put them away and when he said no, he realized the center had been burglarized.
Derbyshire Place is a Christian community center and a hidden gem, according to Rodriguez. It's been around for about eight years and provides many services for families, including a thrift shop and soon-to-be vegetable garden. However, Rodriguez said the laptops are invaluable.
"We are a DCF access partner so anyone can come in and sign up for their cash benefits, WIC, government programs, Medicaid," Rodriguez said. "If kids needed to do homework, research, papers, they can print, they can do whatever they need. Even if they just needed a safe place to come and even just play a computer game."
Now, the tables are bare with just a printer and a few computer mouses. Some customers, like Mary Harrington, were devastated to hear the news.
"Oh Lord hun, I hope they find them and punish them to the max. I would hate somebody stealing from me," Harrington said.
Rodriguez said his next step is to add cameras and steel doors to beef up security and
then leave the rest up to faith.
"We're not deterred, we're not dismayed. So, someone stole some stuff, he can have it. God is going to replace it. It's going to be bigger, better, badder and we're going to be able to help more people," he said.
Deputies said the suspect also stole 10 wireless mouse adapters and a safe.