Burglars target schools as new year kicks in

Gardai are to call to schools around County Galway to offer advice against keeping cash and other valuables on their properties – following a spate of break-ins over the past week.

School authorities across Galway are being urged by Gardaí not to leave cash on their premises overnight and to store laptops and other electronic equipment in secure areas.

Garda Inspector Declan Rock of Ballinasloe Garda Station told The Connacht Tribune that it was now necessary to call on schools to give advice about the dangers of keeping cash on premises.

This follows the spate of break-ins that occurred across the county during which cash and laptops were specifically targeted. Other schools were ransacked by raiders who were looking for cash.

All of this follows a similar incident a number of months ago when a Galway secondary school was broken into and thousands of euros were taken – this money had been stored in a safe and had been collected by students for a school trip.

But over the past seven days four more schools were broken into, with cash and computer equipment stolen in the process. Considerable damage was caused in all case by the intruders.

Inspt Rock said that schools have become a target for criminals, and teachers along with boards of management had to be more vigilant about keeping cash on the premises.

“Schools are often easy targets for the criminals as they are invariably located in areas where the intruders are not seen. This is why that under no circumstances should cash be kept in schools. It is obvious that safes are not secure places in which to store cash,” he said.

On Thursday night of last week, Merlin Community School in Doughiska was broken into when a window on the premises was smashed and the thieves gained entry.

A safe on the premises containing a quantity of cash was taken from the front office while damage was caused as the intruders looked for more valuables.

Then on Sunday night last, Kilglass National School was broken into and again a quantity of cash was taken. There were also two iPads, a Hewlett Packard laptop and a Lenovo laptop taken in the raid. Mountbellew Gardaí are investigating.

Again on Sunday night, Bullaun National School near New Inn was also broken into and in this incident, the rear window of the school was smashed and an office door was broken. Any witnesses to the burglary please contact Loughrea Gardaí at 091-841222.

Finally, between Friday night last and the early hours of Monday morning, Kiltormer National School was broken into and was extensively ransacked. A considerable amount of damage was caused. Anyone with information are asked to contact Ballinasloe Garda Station.

Gardaí say that these schools have been targeted as the new term commences. “It’s upsetting for staff, students and parents and Gardaí want to remind schools never to keep money on the premises and not to leave electrical or other valuable equipment where they can be easily accessed”.

Earlier in the year, students attending Colaiste Baile Chlair in Claregalway were left devastated when thousands of euros they collected for a trip was stolen by heartless thieves during a break-in.

Those responsible disconnected the alarm and CCTV at the school before gaining entry to the secretary’s office by breaking a window.

Similar to the other crimes, the break-ins took place at the start of the weekends when there would be no one around and allowing them ample time to search the buildings.