The FBI has joined investigators in northwestern Kansas and southwestern Nebraska looking into school break-ins in which thieves have stolen thousands of dollars' worth of iPads and other expensive electronics.
HAYS, Kan. (AP) - As many as 17 schools in the region have been burglarized in a similar manner over the summer, The Hays Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/PuadOf ).
The latest and largest occurred Aug. 9 at the high school in Phillipsburg, Kan., where burglars stole approximately 150 iPads, 160 iPad chargers and 90 iPad cases. Phillips County Sheriff Paul Wisinger said the loss is estimated at $75,000.
Wisinger has been in contact with other Kansas sheriff's departments that also have had schools burglarized. There also was a meeting in McCook, Neb., where authorities from both states met to share information.
"We talked with Nebraska State Patrol and a couple other agencies," Wisinger said. "I think (the burglaries are) connected."
Sheriff Thomas Dow, of Nebraska's Hayes County, said authorities are "looking pretty hard" at a couple of suspects.
"People are wearing the same kind of outfits for disguises, they're taking the same kind of items," Dow said. "That's how we're thinking they might be related."
Hayes Center High School in Hayes Center, Neb., was burglarized July 22. Sixteen iPads, four laptops, two Apple TVs and other items were stolen, a loss of approximately $10,000.
Two burglaries and one attempted break-in occurred July 31.
At Rawlins County High School in Atwood, Kan., two digital cameras and two flat-screen TVs were stolen. In Cambridge, Neb., thieves stole seven iPads, five flat-screen TVs and numerous digital cameras from the high school. They also caused damage, and superintendent Robert Gregory estimated the loss at $50,000.
Golden Plains United School District 316 in Kansas has been hit twice, with the elementary school in Selden burglarized July 27 and Golden Plains High School in Rexford burglarized Aug. 2. Dozens of iPads and other electronics were taken from the two schools, for a total loss estimated by superintendent Mary Ellen Welshhon at $30,000.
The burglars also caused extensive damage as they smashed their way into classrooms, she said.
"They broke the glass into those rooms, and it got in that carpet; we've had to replace all the carpet. That is major," Welshhon said. "It's very, very frustrating. ... You almost feel like you've been violated."
Information from: The Hays Daily News, http://www.hdnews.net
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