Police say school-issued iPads being stolen from kids
Could school-issued iPads be a safety risk for your child? Police say dozens of the high-tech tablets are getting ripped-out of the hands of young students.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Could school-issued iPads be a safety risk for your child? Police say dozens of the high-tech tablets are getting ripped out of the hands of young students. Investigators nabbed two suspects, who they believe were watching schools, and striking before and after the bell rang.
Thanks to federal grant money, five middle schools in Clark County were able to equip kids with iPads to use in the classroom this school year. The kids also take the devices home to do homework. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says that may be an unintended danger.
"Here you have kids walking down the street with a brand new iPad in hand, and what we're seeing is an abundance of adults -- people twice their size -- snatching the devices right out of their hands," says Metro Officer Rachel Calderon.
Calderon caught two teenagers, accused of stealing school-issued iPads from kids, near Fremont Middle School.
"You're potentially putting these kids in jeopardy with the iPads," says Metro Property Crimes Sgt. George Warner. "They're walking home, playing games and listening to music on the iPads, not realizing someone could be watching them."
"I do worry," says parent Veronica Pareja. "Kids can easily get robbed if someone knows they're carrying a very expensive piece of technology like that."
But according to investigators, it's not just random thieves ripping off iPads from kids outside of schools.
"Some family members are converting these iPads to personal property," Warner describes. "They're selling them at second-hand shops and pawn stores."
In other cases, Warner believes relatives are claiming a child's iPad was stolen, so they can cash in on insurance and get a brand new one.
"The problem is, people are restoring the iPads back to factory settings," Warner says. "So, it's hard to utilize applications like 'Find my iPad.'"
But the Clark County School District says each iPad has a distinct security bar code, and safeguards are in place.
"We have every student sign a safety and use agreement," says Scarlett Perryman, the Principal of Garside Junior High School. "They must get permission from their parents to have the iPads. Both parents and children attend a training session. We've also trained all our students to keep their iPads out of sight. Teachers are constantly reminding students to keep iPads well-protected and hidden."
Perryman says the benefits of having iPads as a successful learning tool outweigh the few instances of trouble that have been reported. She points out that no student has been injured in any confrontation over an iPad.
According to the school district, five additional middle schools will get iPads next year.