Thieves steal electronics, food from after-school program

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

At first glance, things look normal inside the Neighborhood Resource Center on Kenhill Drive in west Charlotte.

But after a closer look, you'll find an office ransacked and computers missing hard drives.

"I was just devastated,” owner Marjetter Crooms said. “I don't know if I could think of words."

Crooms first noticed the break-in when she opened Monday morning.  When she went to investigate out back, she found the wires to the alarm had been cut and a back window was busted.  The window has been replaced, and the broken one now rests on the floor of her classroom.

Crooms said the thieves also stole food from the refrigerator.

It was a hard hit for a center that relies heavily on donations and grants to survive.  It was a former drug house that was donated to Crooms so she could turn it into a community resource center in 2001.

John Leslie's two daughters attend the after-school program, and he's also a volunteer.

"This is something that is going to help the community, not tear it down," he said.

Crooms told Eyewitness News she was working to raise money to a pay a deposit to a contractor to knock down a wall so she could expand and add a pre-K program.  That amount was $2,000, which is about what it will cost to replace the items that were stolen.

"It slows things down," Crooms said. "We got to try to regroup and it's just hard, it is really hard."