For the third time in a single month, a health clinic in east Baltimore was broken into and vandalized. The clinic, which stands on 620 North Caroline street, assists in STD screening and other health management solutions such as dental care, family planning arrangements and child vaccinations. In the first two cases, the building did not have surveillance cameras or security systems, but this time, they were unable to uncover much more than before.
Police say that the intruder, or intruders, managed to climb a tree to gain access to the building through a second story window for the first two break-ins. This third time, however, the Baltimore Police Detective Jeremy Silbert admits that he’s “not sure”. Police are working on a theory that the intruder could have only gained access to the building by using a key code at the back door. Apparently, the window they used to get in the other two times had since been secured.
The burglaries occurred on July 11th, the 18th, and most recently on the 20th.
In the past, the intruder stole televisions from the waiting room, laptops and bus tokens that are reserved for low-income patients, along with medications. This time, however, the interloper ransacked employees’ personal belongings. Instead of stealing patient files or drugs, random items were pilfered such as coloring books and play dolls that are given to mothers and children.
Police remain open as to the motive of the perpetrator. They suggest that perhaps the person was looking for a specific item that was not at the location, or even that they were scared away before they could steal anything of value. They are presently looking for any similarities in the three break-ins that could suggest an overarching motive or implicate any persons of interest.
Perhaps most puzzling, Commissioner Wen has said that controlled substances were not at the facility, and that the medications which were taken were not popular prescriptions to abuse.
“It’s ridiculous that you break into any place trying to help people”, said a clinic patient, and many others agree, including the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.
Calling the events “disheartening” and “traumatic for our staff and patients alike”, the Commissioner went on to underscore her “resolve and that of our entire staff . . . to serving the ongoing needs of our community”.
Despite the numerous break-ins, which closed the clinic for the first day, the east Baltimore clinic has remained open and continued to provide assistance to residents on each of the subsequent break-ins.
“It’s difficult for us,” Wen continued. “We have to increase security in this very difficult climate around the county and here in Baltimore City and protect our staff and patients, but we also have to make sure we’re accessible to our community.”
Still, in light of their perseverance to serve the community, the break-ins have caused an appropriate security response. According to the Health Commissioner, security measures have been improved and the police are on high alert when around the clinic and the surrounding around.
“We are the safety net,” Commissioner Wen added in a recent press release. “We provide dental care immunizations, reproductive health services care to our pregnant women in the city. It’s very disappointing that these are the individuals who are targeted, and as a result our services are disrupted.”
The Baltimore City Health Department workers said that this many break-ins have never been seen before in such rapid succession. Anyone with any possible information is encouraged to contact the Baltimore Police Department and share their details anonymously or with contact information.