MILWAUKEE -- Broken glass and boarded-up windows marked the spot where crooks broke into the COA Youth and Family Center at 24th and Burleigh Tuesday morning, Aug. 13.
"Once the alarms went off, they were in, they were out," said Tom Schneider, executive director of COA. "The camera showed them leaving in less than four minutes. There was some vandalism that occurred."
Schneider said he's grateful for the quick police response.
"We will, of course, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," said Schneider.
Neighbors living nearby were disheartened to learn that a place that serves and develops the community in so many ways was targeted.
"Very surprising and upsetting," said Nichole Bruce, neighbor. "I always see good things from that center in the community. They do things with the kids."
Ironically, Schneider said the center has also played a role in the reduction of crime in the area.
"The nice thing, in this neighborhood, is that in the 15 years that we've opened this center, there has been a 55% decrease in crime in the Amani neighborhood," said Schneider. "That is the steepest decrease anywhere in the City of Milwaukee. It happened because residents got involved and started looking out for each other."
Schneider said he was hopeful that would continue.
"We've had an occasional incident in the past, and have successfully found the perpetrators," said Schneider. "It works when the neighbors are looking out for you."
Police were reviewing surveillance video Tuesday as the investigation continued.