Charity for disabled children burglarized

by: Tom Regan Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Burglars hit a prominent DeKalb County charity that helps thousands of developmentally disabled children and their families early Friday morning.

The executive director of FOCUS (Families of Children Under Stress) told Channel 2’s Tom Regan the thieves ransacked the organization's offices and stole more than $7,000 worth of computers and related equipment.

"It's just sad that our children's program will be interrupted. We will get through it," said Lucy Cusick.

Cusick walked Regan through the mess in the offices off Presidential Parkway near Interstate 285 in DeKalb County. In all, 10 computers were stolen, along with 17 monitors. Cash and cleaning supplies were also taken.

"They even took the Cokes out of the refrigerator," said Cusick.

FOCUS supports families through a variety of events and activities for children with special needs. On Saturday, the group is heading to Camp Twin Lakes for an weeklong visit.

James Seidel, a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy said he's saddened that someone would resort to stealing from a charity.

"I think it's just a terrible thing. It's really a darn shame. FOCUS uses their technology to communicate with its families, and you know there's a camp coming up this weekend. It's a real shame people would do that," said Seidel.

The charity believes the thieves got into the office by slipping a hook through a mail slot and popping open the locks. The executive director said she hopes insurance will replace most of the stolen computers. The organization would like to install an alarm system but right now, it's not in the budget.

Cusick said she can't understand why someone would steal from an organization whose mission is to help children with life-long disabilities.

"It's mean, desperate. I know times are tough. What they are going to get for these computers, we need them a lot more," said Cusick.