JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There's a neighborhood crime alert on Jacksonville's Northside, where police are searching for the person who broke into a day care twice in less than 24 hours.
The owner of Juzt Kidz Learning Center on Winton Drive said that, during the first burglary, which happened sometime between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, more than $5,000 worth of items were stolen.
As workers were cleaning up the damage on Thursday, owner Taki Starkes-Parrish told News4Jax that she believes the day care was targeted.
"I feel like, whoever did it, they knew where they were going," Starkes-Parrish said. "They knew what they wanted.”
Starkes-Parrish said the thief had to use something heavy to smash a hole into the concrete block wall and crawl through the hole into the staff bathroom.
She said a number of items were stolen, including a freezer full of meats and a computer that holds private student documents. It’s also a specialized computer that a student who was born without fingers can use.
“With that computer, she’s able to navigate just by touching the screen," Starkes-Parrish said. "So by them taking that computer, we now have to try to find one so we can offer the accommodations that’s needed for her.”
The owner said Juzt Kidz relies on donations to help fund resources for the learning center, so replacing the stolen items won't be easy.
“In order to keep the costs down, we have to keep the resources and materials that we have," Starkes-Parrish said. "If we lose it, then that’s going to drive cost up, and that’s something that you really don’t want to have to do.”
The owner said that the day care center has security cameras, but they didn't catch the thief in action. She told News4Jax that she is already working to install more cameras.
The owner later said that she went back to the day care about 7 p.m. Thursday and discovered that someone had taken out the cinder blocks covering the hole in the staff bathroom.
Starkes-Parrish said the thief made a bologna sandwich and smeared ranch dressing over their hands to hide the evidence.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).