A week after an overnight burglary at the HUB youth center in downtown Peabody, co-founder Doe Ann Hague still is shaking her head in disbelief and wondering why it happened.
“Yes, they got cash and computers and flat screen TVs,” she said. “They can spend the cash, but the computers can only be used with the HUB’s dedicated network, the TVs were six years old, and the computer games, CDs, and such were things the kids used all the time, but they really have little resale value.”
Hague said the Peabody Community Foundation has annually provided a grant to cover the cost of a new computer.
“That was something we couldn’t afford to do, but something we needed for the kids. There were seven and they were always in use,” she said. “Kids used them for homework and projects. Not everyone has a computer at home. This was a service we can’t provide now.”
“The saddest part — the part that leaves me so angry — is that whoever did this really cannot use the stuff or sell it for a lot of money,” she added. “That means that those items will likely end up in a ditch or a dumpster somewhere. Just how crazy is that?”
Hague said the HUB had insurance, but it was for cash value, not replacement value and since much of the stolen equipment was no longer new, the insurance proceeds probably will not go far. She has no idea yet of what the insurance company will pay.
Sunday about 25 young people prepared and served a benefit lunch at Peabody Christian Church, hoping to raise money to begin replacing the stolen equipment. Organizers for the event thought that about 170 people showed up to eat.
“When the kids saw how many people turned out they were just completely blown away,” Hague said. “We had terrific community support!
“We even had a group of bikers who came up from Wichita after one of them saw it on the news.”
Hague said the man introduced himself and told her that when he saw the story he said to himself, “Well, that ain’t right!” He and a group of friends came to Peabody to eat and donate to the cause.
Hague was not sure of the total amount raised by the lunch because donations were still coming in.
“It will help,” she said. “We need to replace the items the kids used most as quickly as possible. There has been discussion of more fundraisers. One young man who was a regular when he was in high school wants to come back and bring some bands for some kind of event.
“We are grateful for any kind of help.”
Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke said that his department is still investigating the crime.
“We continue to work on leads we have received,” he said. “And we will follow up on anything the public brings us about this case.”
Burke urged anyone with information or a tip contact the Peabody Police Department at (620) 983-2133 or fill out the anonymous tip line form at http://www.peabodyks.com, the city’s website.
Additional donations can be mailed to the HUB at 118 N. Walnut St., Peabody, or in care of Peabody Christian Church, 300 N. Sycamore St., Peabody.