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Home  |  News  |  Thieves vandalize, steal from observatory

Thieves vandalize, steal from observatory
Monday, January 9, 2012

 
AIKEN, SC - Over the past decade, thieves have broken into the Boyd Observatory more than a half dozen times, taking specialized astronomical equipment which the owner said has little or no value to anyone but scientists.

Thieves have hit the Boyd Pond Road observatory over and over again, but owner David Boyd said it seems to have become "the cost of doing business."

"I'm in a remote area, and this has happened multiple times," Boyd said. "This is the first time they took as much stuff as they did, though."

Boyd runs the observatory free to the public.

The thieves broke down the front door late Wednesday or early Thursday and made off with the electronics and astronomical equipment, leaving little of anything behind.

The place was cleaned out, Boyd said.

Thieves stole telescope filters and several astronomical digital cameras.

They even took a gallon of semi-gloss white paint he bought to freshen up the place.

He said he would love to get the equipment back, even the paint, once the thieves realize there is no market for the specialized and somewhat dated equipment.

"They could leave the stuff on my front door," he said.

Boyd is down, but he said he's not out.

Thousands of area children have been through the doors of the small concrete building over the years and said he won't give up his passion for science.

"I will reopen again," he added. "I will have to build a computer system to talk to the (remaining) telescope to see if it even works."

He said the built-in 17-inch telescope was vandalized but was one of the only pieces of equipment remaining.

"My big fear is that I will invest money in computers (to run the telescope) and find the telescope was significantly damaged," he said.

Every time there has been a break-in, Boyd said, he has embraced it as an opportunity to rethink things and build differently.

"When I reopen, hopefully within a month, I will make it better than it was," he vowed.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Aiken County Sheriff's Office at 1-800-922-9709. Individuals also should call CrimeStoppers of the Midlands at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Callers can remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of between $50 and $1,000.

Source: http://www.aikenstandard.com/story/010712-Astronomical-observatory-break-in--3696750

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

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