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Pittsfield High School administrators say prom won't be canceled

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Albany/HV: Pittsfield High School administrators say prom won't be canceled
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Pittsfield High School's principal says he'll make sure his students have a prom Friday night. This after someone stole $9,000 students had raised to fund the dance. Our Brandon Walker has more on the investigation and the community's response to the crime.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "It's not a prank," said Tracey Benson, principal of Pittsfield High School, but more like a nightmare.

The paint hadn't dried on the decorations before someone stole $9,000 from a lock box stored in a desk drawer. Money meant to fund this year's senior prom.

"Thursday morning, the theft was discovered," said Captain John Mullin, spokesman for the Pittsfield Police Department.

Mullin said the crime took place sometime between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The school was open, doors unlocked, for senior class prank night.

"The building was chaperoned, there were teachers, a school police officer and parents in the building," Mullin said.

"We know it was someone who knew where the money was. That's as far as we know, so it could have been a Pittsfield High student, it could have been someone else," Benson said.

Benson said the drawer in which the box was kept was locked. So was the classroom. Despite the loss, he says prom won't be canceled.

"Even though we're missing what seems to be a large sum of money, $9,000, we're confident we're going to be able to fund the prom with re-allocated funds," he said.

While the show is on for Friday, the question who would do such a thing, not only has students talking, but searching for answers.

"We don't want to ruin it for other classes. We don't want to leave with everyone thinking the class of 2011 are the ones who ruined it for everybody," said Shelbey Casella, a senior at Pittsfield High.

Seniors Shelbey Casella and Briana Amidon are heading fundraising efforts to make sure their night goes on. With the help of Shelbey's mom, the girls turned to Facebook, organizing a car wash Saturday that raised $1,400.

"The fact that the money was stolen is very upsetting and I know how hard they worked to raise that money over the last few years," said Mary Casella, a parent.

"The community has really come together, $1400 is a lot of money to raise," said Briana Amidon, a senior at Pittsfield High.

A community taking a stand to make sure prom is a go, sending a message that this is no laughing matter.

A second fundraiser will be held Wednesday at Arizona Pizza in Lenox. Also, Mildred Elley's Pittsfield campus on Thursday, June 2 will donate proceeds from appointments at Mirror Images Cosmetology and Massage Student Clinic.

If you know anything that could lead to an arrest, call Pittsfield police.

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