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Center Recouping Computers after Break-In

During the overnight hours of Dec. 7 and 8, burglars broke into the Utah Pride Center and stole four computers in its David Bohnett Cyber Center, an area in the on-site Café Marmalade, where patrons can access the internet free of charge.

The burglars have yet to be apprehended, and Salt Lake Police Department has said it does not think the theft was bias-related.

Shortly after the break-in, Valerie Larabee, the Center’s executive director, said that she was saddened by the loss of the computers, particularly around the holidays.

“Our Cyber Center is a vital resource this time of year as members of our community without computer access at home or work are hoping to connect with their friends and family,” Larabee said in a statement at the time. She added that the computers were also critical to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth “who are most isolated.”

But just two weeks after the burglary, the Center is well on its way to recovering the loss, thanks largely to the community at large, which has rallied behind it.

“We have actually had an incredible outpouring of support from the community,” said Marina Gomberg, the Center’s director of development and marketing. “We are excited to report that just one week after the burglary and with the Center’s insurance, coupled with the support of donors from our community, we were able to recoup all of the costs of the stolen computers.”

The support was so great, Gomberg continued, that the Center will also be able to add two more computers to the cyber center, which is scheduled to reopen “early in 2011,” and in a more secure location in the café. Further, Gomberg said that the Center will be “beefing up security” on its entire campus, which consists of two buildings.

At press time, a representative from the Salt Lake Police Department said that detectives had not entered any new information in the case’s file and do not have any suspects. Shortly after the break-in Detective Pat Wilkinson told The Salt Lake Tribune that police had no evidence that the burglary was hate crime related.

Earlier this year, vandals defaced Café Marmalade’s sign with an anti-gay slur. However, Gomberg said that no conclusive evidence existed to link both crimes.

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