Thieves broke into an Englewood Elementary school over the weekend, stealing iPads and computers and leaving administrators, parents and students frustrated.
“I think they should use more, better security because this happened, the same thing, last year,” said Lanesha Aaron, a 7th grader at the school.
A Chicago Police evidence technician could be seen Monday afternoon going in and out of Nicholson Technology School, at 60th and Peoria, carrying evidence bags. Sources familiar with the investigation said the burglars made off with about 300 iPads, as well as some computers. They ransacked about 60 classrooms in the process, using crowbars to break open closets and the technology carts used to secure the iPads. A window in the back of the school had been pried open to give the burglars access.
A source said security cameras with motion detectors set off an alarm at 11:30 PM Saturday. The cameras showed two hooded individuals moving in the hallways. After police responded and then left without apparently finding anyone, the security footage showed a team of five individuals running in and out of the classrooms around 2:30 AM Sunday carrying large black garbage bags filled with what is believed to be the stolen technology.
Chicago Public Schools would not comment, and police would only call it an ongoing investigation. But detectives were seen canvasing the area after learning the iPads were possibly being fenced a few blocks away.
The school did experience a break in during the summer of 2013 when there was construction taking place. The offenders were arrested and charged in that previous incident for the theft of laptops.
Since that time, additional security steps have been taken, including the installation of enhanced surveillance cameras and the ability to better secure technology through the use of secured carts.
CPS is working with the Chicago Police Department in this case.
Parent Taneka Aaron wondered why the school didn’t learn from the break in last year.
“They could lock them up better, get like a safe box where you have to have a combination to get in, because evidently what they keep them in is not safe enough because they’re taking them every time,” Aaron said. “It’s probably whoever did it the first time did it again, because I guess it’s easy for them to do it, and they know how to get in and get out.”
One school official privately suspected the thieves might somehow be connected to the school community, because they knew exactly what was inside and where to find the iPads. CPS did not respond to questions about whether the iPads had tracking devices on them.