Thieves steal more than 100 iPads from metro school

KIPP High School tries to get back stolen tablets

Dozens of tablet computers stolen from a northwest Atlanta high school last month have been identified in places as far away as southeast Asia, officials said.

Now KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School Principal Dave Howland is asking that people who bought one of the 119 iPads pilfered from the school return them.

“If you bought an iPad on Craig’s List for an incredibly good price, I would appreciate if someone would give us a call,” Howland said Friday.

Security upgrades after a theft last year from the school’s computer lab couldn’t keep bandits out on Sept. 25, Howland said.

Police say as many as 10 thieves climbed up onto an awning and broke the window of a second-floor room to get into the building.

School security surveillance showed the men prying open a door to the computer lab. Inside the lab, they broke through a window to get into the room where the iPads were stored.

Overall, police estimate nearly $50,000 in technology was either lost or damaged in the burglary.

Howland said each of the iPads is rigged with a GPS tracker to pinpoint its location when someone tries to use it. “They would pop up as soon as somebody goes online,” he said.

Within 12 hours, he said, they began to show up.

“We had one pop up in Virginia Highland,” Howland said. “We had one pop up in Riverside, we had a couple pop up down by the airport. We had one pop up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, about a week ago.”

Each tablet indicates that it was stolen, he said, with a message reading, “This iPad has been stolen. Please contact the school.”

Two of the iPads and a laptop have been returned as a result of that identification technology, Howland said.

But he stressed how important it is that the rest be returned.

“It’s frustrating and it’s overwhelming that people want to steal from kids and steal from schools,” Howland said. “A lot of the programs we were hoping to implement, and were really excited about for our juniors, we just can’t implement.”

A $500 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in the theft. Please call the school at 404-574-5126.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.