Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa's Community Stepping Stones has thousands worth of technology stolen from Sulphur Springs arts program

TAMPA — A Sulphur Springs nonprofit that helps at-risk youth learn through art is reeling after thousands of dollars worth of technology was stolen from its office and classroom space on E River Coast Street.

For just over a decade, Community Stepping Stones has been using art classes and projects to teach children — from age 5 all the way through high school — how to be successful as adults. The program's students have painted murals across the city and even gone on to college.

Despite losing what the group estimates at between $5,000 to $10,000 worth of computers and other electronics, the nonprofit's board chair Karen Frashier said students should still show up for regularly-scheduled classes and programs.

She said this setback won't stop them from helping children.

"We're a small community nonprofit expanding and doing very well to expand our programs," she said, "but to do that we have to have technology for our program directors to work with.

"I won't pretend it will be easy for us to replace that."

Executive director Nestor Ortiz said he arrived at work Monday around 8:30 a.m. and noticed the door was unlocked. When he walked inside the office, he saw the staff's computers were missing. He noticed a broken window in the back of the building and called police.

Tampa police are investigating the burglary, said spokeswoman Andrea Davis. She said three computers, two printers and a television were stolen. A small amount of petty cash was also taken.

"We're just looking at getting some semblance of a peace of mind for us," Ortiz said. "This can happen anywhere, and it has."

The organization has insurance on the building and for accidents, but not theft. Ortiz said the group couldn't afford insurance that included protection from theft.

He said external hard drives that contained the nonprofit's records and grant applications were also stolen, and that data will be hard to recoup. But since grants paid for that equipment in the first place, Frashier said it will be harder to use those same grants to replace what was stolen. She said the group is seeking community support and donations.

Linda Saul-Sena, a former City Council member and current Community Stepping Stones board member, said Tuesday she was taking an extra printer from her house to donate to the group.

"(The program) absolutely has changed some kids' lives," Saul-Sena said. "Why would someone do this during the holidays?"

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.

Tampa's Community Stepping Stones has thousands worth of technology stolen from Sulphur Springs arts program 12/16/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators

    National

    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.