An Agency that helps the disabled was robbed by gas thieves.

July 15, 2009 7:30:35 PM PDT
Every day, vans carrying more than 90 students with disabilities arrive at the Diamond Learning Center from all over the valley.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To contact them or make a donation:

dlcinfo@dlclife.org

(559) 241-0580

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"What's up Jimmy, how are you doing? I want to talk to you in your office. Okay..."

Here, students spend time with peers.

Learning and developing the skills necessary to become more independent and self sufficient. But two nights ago, a pair of thieves served themselves to something essential to the student's progress.

Jami De La Cerda, Diamond Learning Center said, "Those vehicles is what enables us to bring them here, and when someone is just so blatantly disrespectful in taking the gas. It's so hard to understand why anyone would stoop to that, knowing what we're doing here and the type of clients that are here."

The robbery happened early Monday morning. Surveillance video shows a car pull into one of the agency's parking stalls. Another angle shows what appears to be a woman walking across the courtyard, and take the centers own hose to later siphon gas from three of the vans.

Isaac Jimenez, Senior Director of Diamond Learning Center said, "What we try to do is squeeze the vans as close as we can together so that they are almost touching so that they can't get in between."

But the thieves managed to get in between the vans and even broke off all the locked gas caps.

News of the robbery upset parent Jennifer Sorenson, "These students need their transportation, and they need the gasoline to get to and from this program..."

The center would like to install a fence around the parking lot but money is an issue, especially after a 3% budget cut last June, "We made adjustments with staffing in order to not take anything away from our students, as far as productivity and learning environment for our students, but without the transportation, it would be absolutely devastating."

The Diamond Learning Center transports students from as far away as Reedley, Madera, Parlier and Sanger, and Thursday the Agency will learn the extent of some new funding cuts.

As far as the gas theft, this is the second time they have been targeted, and just a few months ago someone also slashed their van's tires.

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