Community center leaders say come in, don't break in

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News 12 First at Five, July 31, 2007

Augusta, GA---93 year old Ruth Crawford is founder and former director of the Shiloh Community Center. She started the center 30 years ago as a way to reach out to the community. Today Ruth says she's heartbroken. Ruth pleads, "Please what I have worked for with the help of this community for 31 years. I don't want to see you come here and tear it down."

They have had four break-ins in seven days. Computers and televisions were among the items stolen. It's the latest in a string of vandalism at the center. Tonda Booker calls the crimes senseless. She says, "We are wanting to put a stop to this and let them know this is their community center..they are destroying their community."

The center is a staple in the community. Workers provide food and recreation for residents. Mrs. Crawford says she has a message for all perpetrators. She says, "Come in and talk to me...And I think after we sit down and talk and you know what we do, I don't think you'll break in anymore."

Ruth crawford has seen a lot over the years. She says this isn't the first time vandals have plagued the center, and "We stopped it once before, and we'll stop it again."

Deputies have pledged to beef up security around the area at night.

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