May 17, 2011; Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram | In tough economic times, people do desperate things, and either because they are oblivious or just plain callous, their actions show little concern for the innocent people they hurt along the way. In this instance, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that in the process of stealing copper from a nonprofit that offers pre- and afterschool programs for children from low-income families, thieves damaged the electric meter, which left the Fortress Youth Development Center without power and forced to shut down for two days.
The bill for a new electric meter and replacement copper totaled $2,800. The center also had to throw out food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that spoiled because the outage cut power to the refrigerators. Commenting on the combined losses, Stacy Kocur, director of communications said, "It's going to be a pretty big expense when it's all said and done." Describing Fortress as a "small nonprofit," Kocur added, "We don't have money in reserves or budget for things like this. Three thousand is a big hit for us."
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Kocur said the center has 24 children enrolled in its preschool program and 65 children are in its after-school program. She added that young people "look forward to coming to Fortress. Sometimes it's the only place they get help with homework. Outside of school, it's the only place they get a meal. Some of these kids are really hurting without it."
This isn't the first time Fortress has been burgled. Since January, thieves have stolen five batteries from the organization's vans. "They get $4 for a battery that cost us $100 each," said Kocur.—Bruce Trachtenberg