Thief steals safe with $17,000 from Philadelphia charter school

WEST PHILADELPHIA - December 9, 2013

It was business as usual today for the 600 plus students at the West Philadelphia Achievement Charter School, but beneath the surface at this 12-year-old Kindergarten through 5th grade school is broken hearts and bitterness.

The 200 pound school safe was stolen from the CEO's office over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

It contained roughly $17,000 in cash the students had raised this term from the sale of candy and baked goods. It was money designated for school projects and essential supplies.

"I feel sad and most of the time angry because we raised all that money and now it's gone," 2nd grader Taj Brooks said.

"Upset, angry, because we need that money for trips and fundraisers," student Insan Beyh said.

The added problem for the school is they still owe the candy company and other vendors some $12,000.

The school offers so much to a student population made up entirely of children from below the poverty line.

"We have tutoring for the students. We have afterschool programs. Our children participate in the Reading Olympics where we have to buy books for those activities. We have in house tutors who work with children with special needs. We do a lot of special things with those funds and just to have that taken away in one shot is just devastating," Dr. Stacy Phillips, founder of the school, said.

"It's not fair because we needed that money really bad," Beyh said.

Police suspect the robbery may have been an inside job, but do not have any suspects.

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