Crime affecting neighborhood kids

September 27, 2009 5:33:48 PM PDT
A home in Durham where children go for tutoring has become a victim of crime.The house that offers afterschool and camp activities is now missing some of its air conditioning parts.

The robbery happened on Ashe Street, sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning.

The owner of the home, Geneva Melton, said she runs It Takes A Village Workforce, the free camp and afterschool program, from the house since last summer.

"We had field trips for the kids," she said. "They would get out into the neighborhood and pick up paper. We would get a chance to go around to the business owners and meet them."

She also helped neighborhood kids with reading and math.

Melton had to fight back tears as she showed Eyewitness News what was left of her heating and air conditioning unit that was mangled by thieves. They stripped the unit of aluminum parts and copper wiring.

She said she wants the vandals to know who's really hurt by the crime.

"The kids who came here, the program that was going to go even farther, it affects them," Melton said. "It's not even about me. They did something that was really wrong. So I can forgive, but I can't forget!"

Melton said no heat or AC could force her to close, but she's hoping generous people will help repair and secure the damaged unit.

"Doing things positive in the community, eventually the community will see there's people here who are trying to make things better," she said.

Melton said scrap metal dealers told her they'll report anyone who tries to sell suspicious looking copper or aluminum.

Police said they are investigating, but they may have a hard time finding eyewitnesses to the crime who can identify the thieves, because the house beside Melton is vacant.

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