Senior high cracking down as iPods have become latest fancy of young thieves
WILLMAR -- Their sleek design and ingenious ad campaigns have made Apple's iPods some of the most coveted and popular electronic devices in recent years. But their mostly three-figure price tags have also made them a target for even the youngest ...
WILLMAR -- Their sleek design and ingenious ad campaigns have made Apple's iPods some of the most coveted and popular electronic devices in recent years. But their mostly three-figure price tags have also made them a target for even the youngest of thieves.
Since mid-October around nine iPods have been reported stolen from the Willmar Senior High School, according to Tribune archives. However, Gene Schneider, the police department's senior high school resource officer, is keeping his own records.
"I want to say a few more than that," Schneider said.
He estimated somewhere between 10-12 iPods and other small electronic devices have been stolen from high school students. Small electronics are commonly stolen from kids, Schneider said.
Even though iPods can snag a fair amount of cash on resale through auction Web sites like eBay, Schneider said there is no reason to believe those stolen from the high school are being resold. "It's becoming a crime of opportunity," he said.
A more likely scenario for the thefts is personal use or bragging rights, he said. Whatever the reason, small electronics devices remain vulnerable at the high school.
An iPod or a Sony PlayStation Portable left out on a desk can disappear in the blink of an eye. Unlocked lockers and backpacks are also preferred targets for these electronics thieves, Schneider said.
"It happens very fast, it's 10 seconds," he said. "That's all it takes is a moment being careless."
Some of the stolen iPods have been recovered and one or two charges have come out of the thefts, Schneider said. But he urged parents and students to take precautions.
Writing down serial numbers of the iPods or marking engraving the items makes them more easily identified. Schneider also reminded students to keep electronics in sight at all times and not to leave them alone with anyone.
Faculty and students have also begun taking more proactive approaches to preventing the thefts. Matthew Williams, an instructor and co-adviser to the student council, said the council is working with Schneider and the police department to raise awareness.
The council, which is comprised of 34 students between ninth and 12th grade, is planning presentations as well as a video to inform students that stealing iPods is a crime. The council is also focusing on urging those who know about thefts to come forward, Williams said.
"We know there are kids out there who know more than they're letting on," he said.
Williams estimated that for every iPod stolen, five other people know what happened to the iPod. It's his hope that the council's efforts will push those with information to report what they know. Crime Stoppers is also expected to start offering rewards to students for information about stolen electronics, Williams said.
"It's really wrong that kids have to worry about what they bring to school now," he continued. Williams said the council has the methods to make students more aware, and hopefully prevent future thefts.