Hart-less: Thief swipes computers from West Philly rec center

MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kevin Hart visits Stearne Elementary after donating 300 computers to Philly public schools and 200 to Parks and Recreation. Four were stolen last week.
MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kevin Hart visits Stearne Elementary after donating 300 computers to Philly public schools and 200 to Parks and Recreation. Four were stolen last week.
Posted: December 19, 2013

KEVIN HART is mad as hell, and he's not afraid to let the world know.

"Don't let the this [sic] bulls--- affect your mental, kids," the Philly-born comedian wrote yesterday in a Twitter post directed at the city's youth. "I love y'all and I will be back shortly."

Hart has to come back because a selfish thief capitalized on his charity.

Last month, Hart donated 500 Sony Vaio computers to the city - 200 of which were given to the Parks and Recreation Department, which distributed them to 25 facilities in low-income areas.

Late last week, someone with access to one of those facilities - Cobbs Creek Recreation Center, on Cobbs Creek Parkway near Walnut Street in West Philadelphia - stole four of the computers, which retail at $1,100 each.

"The whole situation is disheartening," said Leo Dignam, deputy commissioner for Parks and Recreation. "It's bad enough that these computers were stolen, but these kids don't need to go through this around Christmas."

Sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning, someone entered the Cobbs Creek facility and swiped the computers, according to Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives. There was no sign of forced entry, indicating that whoever committed the theft likely used a key to access the building.

Walker said the Cobbs Creek theft happened during the same time frame as two other similar thefts at city recreation centers: A TV was stolen at the 48th & Woodland center, and a computer (not related to Hart) was stolen from Christy Recreation Center, at 55th Street near Webster.

"Obviously, a lot of people have access to these facilities," Walker said. "Right now, we're trying to narrow down exactly who has that access."

Meanwhile, Dignam said his department is doing all it can to protect the computers at the remaining facilities.

"We now know that we have to do a better job of keeping checks and balances on our equipment," he said.


On Twitter: @Vellastrations

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