Students Happy Stolen Computers Are Back at Community Center

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HAZLETON -- It may seem a rather tall task: asking some young students to set up a computer lab, but they are more than happy to do it.

$25,000 worth of Apple computers were stolen from the Hazleton One Community Center on East 4th Street in the city over the weekend.

Now some of them are back at their rightful home.

“Very, very happy because now we can all come back and we can use the computers again and we can do our homework here and do all our projects here,” said seventh grader Daniela Jorge.

Jorge is among hundreds of Hazleton students who use the computers for free after school.

One big perk is getting online tutoring from Penn State students.

“I'm happy because now I can see my tutor, Skype,” said fifth grader Jerean Familia. “That's really very important because my tutors are very cool.”

“Just to see the excitement on their face when they walked in today, to see that their stuff was back, it kind of moved me. It just touched my heart,” said volunteer Andrea Kolb.

Frank DeAndrea, the former Hazleton Police Chief, is now the president of Hazleton One's Board of Directors. He says he got a call from a parent Monday who said his son had some of those stolen computers.

“I spoke with the son, with the father and mother there, and the son explained where the rest or some of the rest of the stuff was, gave me a phone number, call another mother, go to that house,” said DeAndrea.

DeAndrea says after tracking down leads, 95 percent of the stolen items have been recovered.

Two computers are damaged beyond repair, but people at the community center are not complaining.

“We got our computers back. That's what this is all about,” said DeAndrea.

Hazleton police have DeAndrea's information and it's believed detectives know the names of who took the computers, but so far, no charges have been filed.

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