Ten People, Including 13-Year-Old, Busted in Theft of 300 iPads from School
CHICAGO — Ten people, including a 13-year-old boy, have now been arrested in last week's looting of 300 iPads from a South Side elementary school, and police are still seeking more people.
The band of suspected iPad thieves arrested so far also includes two 15-year-old girls, a 15-year-old boy, three 16-year-old boys and a 25-year-old man named Eugene McQueen of the 2900 block of South Federal, police said.
They are accused of loading up on Apple iPads and MacBooks meant for elementary school kids at Drake Elementary School in Bronzeville.
McQueen is facing misdemeanor theft charges. Several of the suspects also face misdemeanors, but several were hit with felony burglary charges, including the 13-year-old.
Two of the arrested went through bond court Tuesday — although they only accounted for three of the missing iPads and one laptop. Police refused to say how many tablets and laptops have been recovered, but acknowledged some are still on the street.
Jabare McChristian, 19, and Devin Pearson, 17, appeared in court, charged with felony burglary.
McChristian and Pearson lifted about $94,000 worth of electronic equipment Thursday night from the school auditorium, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.
They entered Drake Elementary, 2710 S. Dearborn St., and helped take the electronic equipment, Scaduto said.
But individually, the teens didn't get much.
Pearson took three iPads, Scaduto said. He allegedly told authorities that he hid them near his home fearing that they might be equipped with tracking devices. When he learned police were coming, he dumped the computers in the trash.
McChristian initially grabbed a single iPad from the school auditorium, Scaduto said. When it didn't appear to work, McChristian left it in favor of a MacBook.
With no apparent criminal record, the teens were each ordered held in lieu of $75,000 bond by Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Tuesday.
Drake is a Chicago Public Schools "welcoming school," and moved into the old Williams Elementary building at the beginning of the school year.
Some of the stolen equipment had been found by Monday morning, CPS spokeswoman Keiana Barrett said. She declined to give further details.
"It's ridiculous," Andrea Carter, 33, whose 13-year-old son attends Drake, said Sunday. "Why would you steal from babies? They're trying to learn and get an education. And these kids were actually excited about it."