Early Friday morning, Plano police investigated a burglary at the Plano Senior Recreation Center’s renovation site on W. 16th Street.
The construction crews are in the beginning of a $7.5 million renovation project, and according to officer David Tilley, Plano PD spokesman, the site’s outdoor storage containers had their locks cut off and several construction tools and other equipment were stolen. The SKIHI Mechanical contractors reported over $5,000 in stolen and damaged property.
Though the break-in won’t delay the senior center’s renovation, it did delay and damage the Wellness Center for Older Adults.
While the Plano Senior Center is closed for renovations, the Wellness Center was planning to relocate from its small office space in the senior center to a construction trailer on the property for the next 10 months. Stephen Hood, executive director of the Wellness Center, said last week the staff packed up its office in preparation for Friday’s move. But Friday morning, he walked in to find the door busted open, the window smashed in.
“From a realistic standpoint,” Hood said, “(it) kind of took the winds out of everybody’s sails,” he said.
The suspects stole two Dell laptops – purchased in 2017 – and an Apple iPhone 5 valued at about $1,500. Hood said these computers were used by nurses to conduct wellness screenings for residents, to coordinate volunteer efforts and other necessities.
For 40 years, the Wellness Center has concentrated on its counseling and basic health services for older residents, Hood said. Technology often took a backseat, as the center operated on a lean budget and concentrated on more analog services. So the laptops were meant as an investment in the quality of service the Wellness Center could offer.
“Those laptops represented the start of moving into utilizing technology to the best of its ability,” he said.
Fortunately, there was no personal information logged on the laptops, so senior residents aren’t vulnerable to identity theft or possible fraud. Still, the break-in certainly feels like a violation, Hood said.
“That’s like stealing social security checks from seniors,” he said.
As the laptops have become a necessity in the office, Hood said he’s expecting to restructure, replace and move forward. But in reality, “it’s going to set us back in time, and it’s going to set us back in funds. And that’s not a question.”
As a nonprofit, the Wellness Center has always functioned because of community donations, so if residents want to support the center, he said help is always appreciated.