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An open letter regarding second Ripley library break-in

May 14, 2015
Westfield Republican

Dear Editor,

The Ripley Free Library was broken into for the second time in as many months. In addition to a small amount of cash, the perpetrator(s) punched a flat screen television, breaking it and trashed office areas. Below is an open letter to the perpetrator(s):

Perhaps there are two of you, one for each break in; perhaps you dared to rob the same place twice. Did you and your friends get high, celebrating your ill-gotten wealth?

Here's a peek at how your theft affected other people:

Ripley Library struggles to survive. Multiple fund raisers are held every year to help buy new books and materials for our residents. We sell cookies and hot dogs to buy computers, desks and chairs so our young people can use them for school work, research or just relax with computer games.

We ask for donations to help send our volunteers for training to further help our patrons. We send money to help orphaned elephants, victims of poachers.

The summer reading program helps dozens of our young people develop a lifelong love of reading.

Your theft of the money left in the library puts all these programs in jeopardy. Worse is your wanton destruction of the flat screen television and trashing of offices. We worked hard to purchase that television so young people could come to the library for Saturday movies and classes could be taught on the large screen so a larger number of people could participate. That television was a link to the news programs some of our adult patrons can't access in their homes.

Those papers you scattered and threw all over the back office? Those represented weeks of work on the Wounded Warrior Project by our volunteers for the upcoming Memorial Day celebration.

That camera you stole? The owner is still paying off that camera while having to purchase another and cannot afford the additional debt.

When you steal from your community, you hurt us all. You destroyed the trust we had. You destroyed some of the programs we offer. But you have not destroyed our resilient spirit. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. You will be caught. We will survive this.

If anyone has information about this crime, please contact the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office at (716)753-4231.

Friends of the Ripley Library Board



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