SARNIA, Ont. -- A long-time Sarnia police officer calls a break and enter at a centre for special needs children a “heinous” attack.

Const. Giovanni Sottosanti was reacting to the damage caused and items stolen from the Pathways Health Centre for Children.

The agency, on Murphy Road, provides services for children and youth with physical, developmental and communication needs, according to its website.

In two separate break-ins, on Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) and on Nov. 13, the centre was “ransacked” and items were taken.

Sottosanti says those included laptops, lapbooks and at least one cellphone.

While the value of the items may not be high, the agency targeted has police looking for a suspect.

In the first incident, a security camera in a hallway briefly captured the person on video.

Although the suspect is wearing a hoodie, with the facial area covered up, Det.-Const. Jeff Rovers believes the person is male.

"The suspect broke in by throwing a rock through a window, causing probably a couple of thousand dollars worth of damage, and then the fact he ransacked some offices was also disturbing as well."

Rovers believes the thief did not stop there.

On Nov. 10 and 13, nearby Cathcart Boulevard Public School was also targeted. There, multiple laptops were stolen and the school building and a portable were damaged.

Sottosanti says both incidents are upsetting to the general public, “It's bad enough to break into somebody's personal home, now your breaking into a place that's strictly there to help children."

Officers, like Rovers and Sottosanti agree, break-ins at schools, which now house laptops and lapbooks for students, are becoming more common in the digital age.

If you can help identify the suspect in these most recent cases, call Rovers at 519-344-8861, extension 6159, or Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.