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By Robyn Doolittle

Oakham House was broken into during the winter break, but it is going to cost the school more to fix the damage than to replace the stolen items.

At least three floors of the building were ransacked; not even the basement staff washroom was spared. “Anything that was locked they wanted to get into,” said Ron Stagg, chair of the Pallin foundation, which runs Oakham.

Security believes several people entered the building through the rear construction site on Dec. 25 or 26. Armed with crowbars, they broke open doors on the basement, main level and upper floors of the building, prying open filing cabinets and drawers.

One of the doors to the front dining hall needed to be replaced, but chunks of the frame are still missing. Oakham’s insurance company, Rose, Horne Stevenson, won’t be conducting an official assessment of the damage until later this week.

Sue Dinny, who’s handling the case for the insurance company, said the most significant item she can remember reported missing is an old laptop. The computer was taken from the ombudsperson’s office on the second floor.

The large steel door-which was installed because of a previous break-in-was busted open. The intruders went through the filing cabinets, but didn’t take anything. They also left an out-of-date desktop computer in the office.

“There was absolutely no interest (in student files),” said ombudsperson Nora Farrell, adding she has since moved all files to a secure location. “They were after something valuable, which I presume they were looking to sell on the street.”

Oakham House director Dale McNichol is worried about how anyone could get past the building’s security system. “How did these people get into our House? Your House… we have motion detectors, video cameras, and there were no finger prints,” he said.

McNichol plans to meet with Ryerson security head Lawrence Robinson next week to develop precautions against further intrusions. This is the fifth break and enter at Oakham since summer 2003.

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