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Tempe nonprofit robbed days before COVID-19 reopening

The Centers for Habilitation serves nearly 120 special needs adults every day with programs that serve as a school setting.

TEMPE, Ariz. — In Tempe, near Guadalupe and Kyrene Road, is a nonprofit center called The Centers for Habilitation, or TCH. 

The Centers for Habilitation serves nearly 120 special needs adults every day with programs that serve as a school setting.

The nonprofit was robbed on Tuesday. Surveillance video showed a pickup truck driving through the parking lot around 1 a.m. and again at 2:30 a.m. 

When staff members arrived to work, they found that a maintenance vehicle and shed were broken into. 

The individuals involved took work and power tools, as well as an adaptive special needs tri-cycle and a four-seater surrey bike as well as a ping pong table. 

These bikes are unique and hard to come by. They cost around $4,000 to $5,000 and were donated to the facility.

These bikes were among the favorite activities for the supported adults to use.

As TCH has been closed and suspended their day-programs since March due to COVID-19, they are expected to have a soft reopening of only a few staff and clients to reenter the campus on Thursday.

Now Jeff Bernick, the CEO of TCH, is worried when they open their doors that they'll have to tell their clients these favorite activities are no longer here.

“My biggest fear is on Thursday when these guys come, who I count as one of my biggest friends at this point, come back and want to hop on the bike and it’s not going to be here," Bernick said. 

"These are individuals that really struggle with change. That’s what this pandemic has been all about, so it’s been incredibly channeling for them and for us, and this is just one more lack of normalcy in their lives.”

If you know who was involved or have seen the pickup, they encourage you to call Tempe Police. If you would like to help the nonprofit you can go to donate at the nonprofit's website or go to https://www.tch-az.com/contact/ to contact them with any additional assistance.