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Laptops stolen from Walnut elementary school

May 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There has been a huge loss for Morris Elementary School in Walnut.

Thieves broke into the school 3 a.m. Thursday and stole 47 laptop computers. The Apple laptops are valued at $61,000.

"They're gone, all of them," said third grade Morris Elementary teacher David Boots. "Each kid's lost one."

Every student in Boots' class was given a new Macbook Pro at the start of the school year, as part of the districts on-going effort to provide every child their own computer.

It was the first year an entire class of students received individual laptops. The loss is now felt by not only the students, but by everyone who helped make the computers available.

"This is a setback to that operation when money is very tight," said Walnut Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dean S. Conklin. "We've asked parents to help us out, we've done fundraisers and it's very disappointing when something like this happens of course."

"$61,000 in a school district that's suffered budget cuts is pretty big," said Lt. John Saleeby from L.A. County Sheriffs Dept, Walnut Station.

It's the second break-in at the school in the past month. Four LCD projectors valued at $4,000 were stolen during spring break.

Nobody has been arrested, but there is some good news in the case. Authorities have recovered nine of the laptops and are following up on other leads.

However, it's doubtful all 47 computers will be found. So as all good teachers do, Boots is making the best of a bad situation and using the theft as a teachable moment.

"I did tell the kids, I said we lost the things they had in their computers but fortunately they didn't lose the learning for each activity they worked on," said Boots. "You can't lose what you've learned. They can take it from us but we're going to be stronger than them, we're not going to let them get to us."

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the theft to call them at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department Walnut Station at 909 595-2264.