Horton’s Kids Books Taken From Rayburn

Posted April 25, 2003 at 2:00pm

A mentoring program that meets Monday evenings in the Rayburn House Office Building was the victim of an apparent theft.

The incident occurred outside Rayburn 2168 sometime after the tutoring session concluded around 7:30 p.m. April 14, according to representatives from Horton’s Kids, the group which co-sponsors the program along with Hill Help.

The Monday evening program — which aims to involve Hill staff in the mentoring of District children — assists around 60 students from the Wellington Park public housing development in Anacostia.

All in all, Horton’s Kids Executive Director Karin Walser estimates more than $1,000 in school supplies and books were lost, including two boxes of new books recently donated by National Geographic. The supplies were left on a push cart outside of the Rayburn room with a “please do not remove” sign.

“People leave things in the halls of Congress all the time,” said Walser, a former press secretary to then-Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.). “You would think ‘Fox in Socks’ and ‘Hop on Pop’ would be safe,” she added, referring to the Dr. Seuss books.

After hearing about the theft, Horton’s Kids Vice President Dan Walsh, also a consultant for News Corp., which owns HarperCollins, contacted the company about the loss. HarperCollins subsequently agreed to replenish some of the group’s materials, Walsh said.

Last week, the Capitol Police responded to a call regarding the theft but were unable to file a report because the individual who was the complainant was not on the scene, said police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel.