Account set up at Key Bank to support school

by: KOIN LOCAL 6 - Officials at Tigard Playschool on Southwest Walnut Place say a thief broke into this lockbox and stole about $1,800 that students had earned in their annual jog-a-thon fundraiser. The school has since said it will stop accepting cash donations and will be installing a more secure lockbox.Tigard Police say there are few leads into who stole nearly $2,000 from a Tigard preschool last week.

Officials with Tigard Playschool called police on Monday, after they noticed cash and checks missing from a secured lockbox after its annual jog-a-thon fundraiser.

The 55-year-old co-operative school is located inside the Tigard United Methodist Church, 9845 S.W. Walnut Place, but is not affiliated with the congregation.

The school serves preschool students between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Students held the fundraiser on Oct. 17 and raised about $1,800 for the small school.

An envelope of cash and checks was placed in a locked dropbox outside the school’s office on Friday, said Kim Marshall, president of the school’s board. The envelope contained about $1,800, which would go toward school supplies and other essentials throughout the school year. (Image is Clickable Link) Tigard Playschool has been teaching 2- to 5-year-olds at Tigard United Methodist Church for 55 years.

But when school officials returned on Monday morning, Marshall said, the box had been tampered with, and the money was gone.

“Whoever took the money, they were taking it from 3- and 5-year-olds,” Marshall said. “There was such a lack of understanding.”

Jim Wolf, a spokesman with the Tigard Police Department, said the church remained open throughout the weekend.

“It was in an area where possibly a hundred people have access to it,” Wolf said of the lockbox. “That area is very accessible, and the church is open for a considerable number of hours.”

To make matters worse, the security camera that monitors the school’s entranceway was broken, Marshall said.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things,” Wolf said.

It’s unclear just how the thief gained access to the box, Marshall said. The box was still locked when officials opened it on Monday morning, but it did show signs of being tampered with.

“At this point, we know we’re out the cash,” Marshall said.

The annual jog-a-thon is a major fundraiser for the school, Marshall said, so to have that money stolen has been a major hit to the school.

“It means hard decisions later,” Marshall said. “The people affected the most are our teachers. We’ll have to figure out what school supplies we can and can’t get, like paint, or paper. We might have to look at our events. That’s where we were biggest hit, is what will we have to cut in order to get through this deficit?”

Marshall said the school has already taken steps to keep thieves from striking again. A stronger, more secure lockbox will be installed, and the school will no longer accept cash.

The school is also working with the church to install additional security cameras.

“It is not great when these types of things happen, but in the end, we know that we have a fantastic community, and everyone is coming together,” she said.

The school relies on private funding and has set up a donation fund to help recover some of the loss. Donations can be made at any Key Bank branch.

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