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St. Augustine School Aided By Businesses, Alumni After Burglary


October 02, 2009

HARTFORD - When someone broke into the St. Augustine School the weekend before classes started in August and stole computers and tuition money, school officials hoped an angel would help them replace what they'd lost.

Their hopes have been realized, and then some.

"People came forward out of the goodness of their hearts. This has been such a gift," Principal Cynthia Niedbala said Thursday.

The break-in at the 110-student parochial school in the Barry Square neighborhood resulted in the loss of three new computers, printers and $20,000 in checks and cash from tuition payments.

Once news of the school's plight became public, several businesses stepped forward with computer equipment, and alumni and others donated money that more than made up for the loss of $2,000 in cash tuition payments. The other $18,000 consisted of checks that were recovered from a public mailbox. Other Catholic schools also offered technical assistance.

Niedbala said Jenesis Computers gave the school three computers that were similar to those that were taken, and two businesses, Critical Public Relations and NSI Technology, came through with a computer and a monitor. Schools in Winsted provided five "gently used" computers and monitors, and William Cornish, owner of Jenesis Computers, provided six hours of free technical assistance.

Niedbala said the school, which has classes from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, now has nine computers in place of the three that were stolen.

"The burglary wasn't expected and the generosity of people wasn't expected, either," she said.

Gary Bell, operations manager for Jenesis, said Thursday that helping out is "just something we do."

"We got broken into, ourselves, so we know how it feels," said Bell, adding that the company is working on refurbishing a used printer that it will donate to the school.

Hartford police Sgt. Christine Mertes said that no arrests have been made in the burglary case yet, but investigators are hoping a witness may step forward.

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call Sgt. Garth Perri at 860-757-4250. Anonymous tips may also be made by calling Hartford Crime Stoppers at 860-722-8477

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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