Mount Vernon business recovering after Thanksgiving burglary

November 30, 2018
The front door of Valley Kids Therapy is boarded up following a burglary on Thanksgiving Day.

MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon business is bouncing back after a Thanksgiving Day burglary resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

It’s not the first time Valley Kids Therapy on Roosevelt Avenue has been the victim of a crime, said office manager and massage therapist Leah Clark.

About five times this year, the business has had specialized bicycles stolen from in front of the business during business hours, she said.

Last year, she said a window was broken, but it did not appear anything was stolen.

“It’s been an ongoing issue we’ve been struggling with,” Clark said.

But on Thanksgiving Day, two adaptive walkers, an adaptive bicycle and other equipment used to help children with disabilities were stolen.

“This time, they came in and took quite a bit of equipment,” Clark said.

Police are continuing to investigate, said Mount Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock.

The two walkers — used to help children with disabilities be mobile — were later recovered on the nearby Kulshan Trail, Clark said.

Still missing, Clark said, are the adaptive bicycle, worth about $1,500, and an about $5,000 neurofeedback laptop used to help children deal with trauma.

It’s not the monetary value that makes the loss painful, Clark said. The loss hurts the children who need the equipment.

The bicycle, she said, allows children with disabilities to experience things many take for granted, such as family bike rides and community involvement.

“We’re always trying to get access to things that encourage families to get outside and encourage being in the community,” she said. “There’s so many families that need adaptive equipment and can’t get adaptive equipment. So for (the thieves) to throw it in the bushes like it’s nothing ... it’s quality of life for some kids.”

Clark said the laptop enables her to work with children with anxiety, autism, stress, anger and a variety of other issues. A new machine has been ordered, but until then, those clients will not be able to receive services.

“It breaks my heart to have to tell them they can’t come right now,” she said.

Still, she said the business is counting itself lucky because no confidential medical information was stolen, and most of the computers and other equipment were left.

“I think they were pretty specific in getting the items they thought would be the most valuable,” Clark said.

With support from the community, including offers to purchase adaptive bicycles for families, Clark said she expects business will get back to normal in no time.

She said she believes the business’ location on the corner of a business park near the Kulshan Trail plays a role in the ongoing theft issues. She said employees often see evidence of homelessness nearby.

Overall, Cammock said the police department responds to that area mostly for complaints of suspicious activity, which he says shows people in the neighborhood are paying attention.

Clark said she hopes people will not be afraid to use the area’s trails.

Using the trails, she said, will discourage negative behavior.

“Get out there, use our trails,” Clark said. “The more that we use it, we’re reclaiming it.”

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