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Heartless thieves hit Childline offices

Durban - The “callous” thieves who broke into Childline KZN’s training offices under cover of darkness, did not “see the big picture”, the new director, Nomvuyo Shabangu, said on Wednesday.

“They did not think about the work we do for vulnerable children who need our help. They were only thinking of themselves,” she said.

Nomvuyo Shabangu, the new director of Childline KZN, explains how the thieves gained access to the charity's offices. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

The robbery at the charity’s offices at 163 Percy Osborne Road, Durban, was a “big blow” and a setback for their work,” she added.

The robbers, who struck in the early hours of Wednesday, made off with two laptops and also took the digital recording system that would have captured their identities and movements.

While the financial information on the stolen laptops would be of no use to the thieves, it will cost R20 000 to replace them, while the damage to the premises will be about another R30 000.

The heartless thieves cut the electric fence, damaged the main gate, removed roof tiles and got into the offices by gouging a hole in the passage ceiling, before going on their thieving rampage, breaking into offices and taking the laptops out of a locked cupboard.

They turned the security cameras to the wall so they could not be seen, and then, just to make sure they weren’t, stole the digital video recording equipment. They set off an alarm when they cut the electric fence, but although Childline’s armed security company responded, the officer did not see anything untoward.

Childline staff believe that by then, the thieves were probably still on the roof, but would not have been seen because of the dark shadows cast by nearby trees.

The burglars found a cash box and, although it only contained a collection of pens, they wiped it clean of fingerprints. “They have been watching too much TV,” Shabangu said.

The new director, who has been at her job for just two months, added: “I suppose this is my baptism of fire.”

Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that Durban Central Police station was investigating a business burglary. No arrests have been made yet.

Meanwhile, security had been further stepped up at the Childline office.

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