Stockton, CA (KCRA) — The owner of a Stockton summer and after-school program who was targeted by thieves is feeling his community’s support after they raised thousands of dollars to replace stolen equipment.
Bricks 4 Kidz owner Brent Fujii said his program was hit some time between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.
“They breached entry through a side door. They came in and stole a lot of equipment,” Fujii said Thursday.
The thieves used a fire extinguisher left next do the side door to break in. They repeatedly smashed the door handle with the fire extinguisher and were able to unlock the deadbolt using a shoelace.
“They had full access to the place,” Fujii said.
Bricks 4 Kidz introduces and reinforces science, technology, engineering, arts and math concepts through the building of Lego projects, Fujii explained.
To do this, Fujii relies on high tech equipment and proprietary building blocks.
Thieves stole most of this, including a big screen TV and 10 laptops.
“They took 21 of the Kindles (tablets) that were on hand that have all of our proprietary lesson plans and model plans on,” he said.
They also made off with proprietary project kits, carts Fujii uses to transport these materials for in-school programs, a projector and even ate snacks for students.
“They ate those while they were here because there were remnants of the wrappers left around,” Fujii said. “It’s pretty devastating.”
Fujii estimates his total losses at nearly $15,000, and the insurance won’t cover a lot of it. When he took out his policy five years ago, everything fit in the trunk of his car and he was a mobile classroom.
The community, however, is stepping up to help Fujii get back the equipment he needs to finish out his summer camps and get ready for another school year.
“Through the outpouring of support of the community, it’s — you know, they have really rallied around the cause. And I’ll get emotional talking about it, but, yeah, it’s been really, really great,” he said.
A GoFundMe page created Wednesday has a $5,000 goal. As of late Thursday afternoon, it had already raised more than $3,400.
Additionally, Fujii said, the Stockton Kings replaced some of his Kindle tablets.
“I had a parent who called me the other night and both of his kids had come through my program through the years, and he had let me know that his oldest son wants to have a lemonade stand and sell cookies and he wants to donate all of proceeds to me,” Fujii said with a smile.
Stockton police said they’re investigating the break-in and looking for any surveillance video that might help find who’s behind it.
Anyone with information regarding the break-in is encouraged to call the Stockton Police Department.
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