With computer equipment stolen, a community meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation to discuss how the center can move forward with its spring programs.
Police have made an arrest in a case of burglary and vandalism at the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood.
Seattle police say the center, a nonprofit that offers academic programs to youth of African descent, as well as support services for women and immigrants, was hit twice in the last week.
On March 20, staff at the center, at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Alaska Street, called police because they suspected a volunteer had written a bad check, according to police spokesman Mark Jamieson. Also, some computers and other electronics were missing.
While police were there, the volunteer arrived and, with his family, worked out an agreement with center personnel to reimburse the organization for the check. Jamieson said officers lacked probable cause to make an arrest.
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Later in the week, the center was burglarized a second time, and someone left racist graffiti on the walls aimed at African Americans, police said.
Staff at the center again suspected the volunteer. Police found and interviewed him, then arrested him for investigation of burglary. He is also being investigated in connection with the graffiti, which is considered a bias crime, Jamieson said.
Center co-founder Wyking Garrett made supporters of the center aware of the incidents in a message posted to its Facebook page Saturday, writing that because equipment has been stolen and the office’s computer network destroyed, all of the center’s programs have been temporarily halted. Among the programs is the Umoja PEACE Center Young Geniuses Academy, where students learn software development.
The center was founded in 2013 to help increase academic opportunities and boost achievement among African-American students in Seattle Public Schools.
It’s one of a host of projects developed by Africatown, a nonprofit that promotes African-American and African economic development, wellness and culture in the city’s Central District, as well as neighborhoods with large black populations in South Seattle.
A community meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at the education center, 3100 S. Alaska St., to discuss how the center can move forward with its spring programs.