[tabi] Article: Night-vision goggles stolen from agency for the blind

  • From: Lighthouse of the Big Bend <lighthousebigbend@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 09:05:14 -0400

   October 14, 2009

Night-vision goggles stolen from agency for the blind
By Amanda Nalley

Wayne Warner found the door ajar when he arrived at work Tuesday morning.

Warner is the director of vocational rehabilitation services for Lighthouse
of the Big Bend, a nonprofit group that helps the blind and visually

The front door had been pried open, leaving the frame cracked and
splintered. Inside, almost every office had been ransacked, drawers flipped
upside down, their contents scattered about.

Worst of all, a pair of night-vision goggles that were anonymously donated
in September were missing. The goggles were to be used at the Fifth Annual
Paula Bailey Dining in the Dark Benefit.

"We are really distraught," executive director Barbara Ross said.

The event, to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, raised $33,000 last year and
is meant to simulate the experience of being blind as dinner is served in
total darkness.

Brandon Millares uses the goggles to carry out his duties during the event,
which includes directing 20 Leon County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members
who act as wait staff.

"Brandon is doing everything from organizing the SWAT team to cleaning up
broken glass," Ross said. "He needs to see in the dark really, really well."

LCSO SWAT team members, who provide their own goggles, stepped up after
hearing about the burglary and will be providing extra goggles for Millares,
LCSO spokesman Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki said.

But Ross is still hoping to get another, more permanent, pair. The stolen
goggles are worth an estimated $1,000-$2,000.

Lighthouse of the Big Bend serves about 350 blind and visually impaired
clients a year.

Anyone interested in lending or donating night-vision goggles or attending
the event can contact Ross at 942-3658, ext. 201. Tickets to the event must
be purchased no later than 9 a.m. Thursday. Anyone with information on the
burglary can call the Sheriff's Office at 922-3300 or Crime Stoppers at
574-8477 (TIPS).

Contact reporter Amanda Nalley at (850) 599-2299 or abnalley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Lighthouse of the Big Bend
Guiding People Through Vision Loss
1286 Cedar Center Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 942-3658

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