HONOLULU (AP) — An elementary school on the western side of Oahu was burglarized four times last month, losing thousands of dollars in equipment and supplies, officials said.

Makaha Elementary School is struggling to stop the crime spree before the new school year begins next week, Hawaii News Now reported .

"It's disheartening. It's one of those things that makes your heart sink," Vice Principal Elson Barba said.

Three classrooms were burglarized Monday. The thieves took computer equipment and classroom supplies, which were purchased by fifth-grade teacher April Okamoto for students in need.

"I feel heartbroken for the kids and for us who work here at the school because we come to work to be safe, not to have to come and lock everything up all the time," Okamoto said.

Burglars targeted the school again early Tuesday, taking a desktop computer and projector, Barba said. They entered the classroom through a window, cutting through a metal security screen. Two other break-ins occurred earlier in July.

The classrooms are equipped with alarms and motion sensors, but the thieves were able to escape before police arrive, Barba said.

"I'd hate it if a student had to come in to the first week of school to a classroom that's been broken into or trashed," Barba. "How would that make them feel?"

With the school's limited resources shrinking, Barba said the thieves are stealing learning opportunities from students.


Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/