[admin post] Admin Post: Break-in at Seattle Attic

Mar. 21st, 2015 05:43 pm
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[personal profile] analogalpaca posting in [community profile] seattleattic
Let's get right to the heart of the bad news: the Seattle Attic was burglarized last Tuesday. Some time after 1AM, what seems to be a crew of professional thieves broke into the Attic using a crowbar on the lock/door and took a large amount of equipment and valuables. No one was hurt. Among the stolen items are almost all of our computer equipment, most of our electronics equipment, our entire collection of woodworking tools (including large power tools), jewelry-making tools and supplies, a small amount of cash from our donation boxes, and our large screen TV. The thieves, ironically, did not take our lockpicking kit.

We are currently estimating a total replacement cost of just a bit under $5,000.

Here are before and after shots of our wood shop:
Wood shop before theft.Wood shop after theft.

We've reported the theft to the Seattle Police Department and notified area business associations. Unfortunately it's unlikely that we will be able to recover any of the stolen items. Fortunately we do have an insurance policy, and we are in contact with our insurance company to see how much of the loss we can recoup.

Is this the end of the Seattle Attic?

Two days after the break-in, many of the Attic’s members gathered at the Attic to discuss the future of our space. We decided, overwhelmingly so, that this is not the end of the Seattle Attic. While the theft was taxing in many ways---emotionally, mentally, and financially---it brought us together. It reminded us why we created the Attic: to have a community where we can learn and grow together. While the loss of much of our equipment is unfortunate, our community is the most important part of the Attic and it’s here to stay.

What is the current state of security of the Attic?

Our first priorities right now are to physically secure the space and to reimburse stolen member property. In terms of securing the space, we've already had new locks installed, as well as additional hardware to prevent the doors from being crowbarred or otherwise opened forcibly. Together with the other business sharing our space, we are looking into installing more advanced security measures such as alarm systems and security cameras.

What are the Attic’s current finances like right now?

Even with insurance, we have taken a pretty significant financial hit; and of course insurance money doesn't always get disbursed immediately. We do have a reserve of cash to pay rent for the near future and to replace stolen member property immediately, but the board will be prioritizing the replacement of the other stolen equipment since we won't be able to replace everything immediately. We are also taking this opportunity to re-examine our needs for equipment and the direction for the space.

Will the Attic be moving again?

While we're fairly certain that we can secure our space from intruders, there are building-wide factors that are out of our control. Coupled with access issues and the needs/cost ratio of our membership, this current space is no longer ideal. The board is investigating possibilities of moving to a space with better security that also suits our needs and finances better.

What about events? Will ___ be happening again next week?

We cancelled our regular Open House last Tuesday, given that the break in occurred that morning and we spent all of that evening inventorying our losses. All regular events (Open House, Alternacoders, Introvert Night, Book Club) will continue as scheduled starting with Alternacoders on Monday 3/23. As usual, events will be posted on our Meetup group and Twitter. Cancellations or changes will also be sent out via Meetup to RSVPed guests and via Twitter to the public.

Wait, is there anything left in the Attic?

Yes! The thieves did not manage to take everything. Equipment-wise, we still have our media computer, most of our small crafting equipment and all of our textile equipment (which are the most used items in the Attic). Fortunately our library was untouched, as that would be the hardest thing to replace if it was damaged or lost. We still have all our furniture, chocolate, and beverages, so we're completely equipped to run our regular events at this point.

Is there anything I can do to help?

First of all, thank you! The best way to help the Attic at any point is to become a member. Membership not only gives the Attic financial support, but it also lets you directly participate in building and steering the future of the Seattle Attic. We are currently suspending the donation of physical items---including equipment donations to replace stolen items---until we have fully secured our space and figured out any moving plans. Monetary donations are always welcome, of course, and can be made via SeattleAttic.com's Donate page. If you are local and have any information related to the crime, please contact us so we can forward the relevant information to the police.

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TL;DR: The Attic got broken into and got stuff stolen, but we’re here to stay. Join/follow our mailing list / Twitter for more updates down the line, or join us as a member to help figure out what’s next for the Attic.

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