Jacksonville non-profit for children with autism vandalized causing tens of thousands in damage

A Jacksonville non-profit for local children with autism and special disabilities was vandalized overnight causing a lot of damage.

Growing Together Behavioral Center in Jacksonville is closed and boarded up after a thief broke in overnight.

“He literally just ransacked it, my office you can’t even walk in it, he literally knocked everything on the ground, it’s crazy,” said Melissa Kramer.

Melissa Kramer and her husband opened up the school for children with Autism and special disabilities.

“We’re a school for kids with autism, we don’t have anything besides iPads,” said Kramer.

Kramer took these pictures that show several windows broken and in addition to ransacking the center, she says many items were stolen including all of the students’ electronics like iPads, which are critical learning tools at the center.

And not only that...

“He spent a couple of hours here. He broke the back window to my van, that’s a school van and took a nap in there,” explained Kramer.

Kramer says what’s even worse is now they’ll have to close temporarily.

“We won’t be able to open again until we have new windows. They did bard them up because of the storm coming so they have been well reinforced,” Kramer added.

Kramer says early estimates could cost around $30,000.

The owner told Action News Jax reporter Jamarlo Phillips that an arrest was made.

We reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to confirm.

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Jessica May

Jessica May is an assignment editor and digital content producer for Action News Jax.

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