Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Senior center hit by weekend burglary

LUCERNE – Burglars hit the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center over the weekend, taking hundreds of dollars in equipment, officials reported Monday.


Lee Tyree, who took over as the center's executive director on Jan. 1, said the building was broken into once or, possibly, twice on Sunday.


Taken was a brand new laptop computer, office equipment including phones and about $30 in change found in the offices, Tyree reported.


Tyree said she received a phone call on Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. from center board member Ken Kent, who told her about the break in.


She immediately went to the center, where she and Kent surveyed the damage.


The burglars appeared to have broken out the outreach office's window, gained access and then began going through desks to find cash, she said.


They then broke out the window to her office but didn't appear to have taken anything.


There also was about $30 in change spilled on the floor, she said.


However, the burglars didn't manage to get away with the center's extremely heavy safe, she said.


Tyree said she called the sheriff's office and made a report.


On Monday morning, when Tyree went in to work, she discovered they had come back, returned to her office and stolen her brand new laptop computer, which she had gotten last month.


“I'm sick about it,” she said.


The suspects also had taken phones, picked up the $30 in change and made another try at the safe, she said.


Tyree wasn't sure if two separate break-ins had occurred or if the suspects were actually still in the building and hiding when she and Kent arrived to call the sheriff on Sunday.


“It's kind of a scary feeling,” she said.


Due to the President's Day holiday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office could not be reached for comment Monday on the case.


Although center officials don't have any particular suspects in mind, they did find a possible clue on Monday – a green jacket had been left behind, sitting on Tyree's chair in her office.


Tyree said she may also have a clue to when at least one of the break-ins took place: JJ Jackson, the center's former executive director, reported to her that he was receiving calls on his home phone from the center's fax machine – which also can be used as a phone – early Sunday morning.


Tyree suspected the suspects might be close to home. “We have a lot of problems with the neighborhood kids.”


They are believed to be responsible for knocking over an extremely heavy concrete bench in front of the center, which the county's Parks Department had to use a backhoe to put right, she said.


In recent years the center has been the victim of other cases of vandalism, and Tyree said illegal dumping at the center's thrift shop is an ongoing problem.


Tyree said she's requesting additional sheriff's patrols around the building, and asks town residents to please call 911 if they see any suspicious behavior around the center.


Anyone with information on the break-ins should call the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 262-4200.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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