61 laptops stolen from Van Nuys school

VAN NUYS, Calif. The burglar took 61 laptop computers on Friday night at St. Elizabeth's Catholic School on the 6600 block of Tobias Drive.

"Unbelievable. Disbelief. It's hard to fathom. This affects so many people on so many different levels," said technology director Jan Brooker.

Only seven laptops were left that the thieves apparently overlooked.

"We've been working for five years for this to happen. You have to raise a lot of money, and now it's gone," said parent Carlos Desarma.

The school's principal was reportedly going to surprise the school's sixth, seventh and eighth grade students with the laptops on Monday for the first day of classes.

The laptops had arrived just a week ago, and they were still being set up to be handed out to the students.

Surveillance cameras caught the thieves in the act.

They apparently cut open a gate, drove a van into campus and parked it right next to the office where the computers were stored.

"Clearly they came in with equipment knowing what they were going to do," said principal Barbara Barreda.

Right after the thieves broke into the school, they were in and out in under two minutes, and even closed the gate after they left so nothing would appear unusual.

Most of the families at the school are struggling financially, and they held bake sales and parties to raise the money.

"There's not much you can say about the fact that there are people out there who would stoop so low as to steal a child's dream, and what can we say," said Barreda.

Parents said they're not going to let this hold them back, and held a fundraiser on Sunday. They raised about $1,000 toward new replacement computers, but they say at that rate, it's going to be a long time before they can get them.

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