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Thief steals computers, school supplies from school for autistic children

Published: Nov. 13, 2019 at 6:51 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Students, teachers and staff at Intermountain Academy are asking the thief who stole valuable school supplies to do the right thing. The school mainly teaches students on the autism spectrum.

In broad daylight on Sunday, surveillance footage shows a person hopping the fence at Intermountain Academy. The footage shows someone returning the next morning at 4:30 a.m.

Marks on a classroom door are some of the evidence left behind. That classroom was the only one broken into.

“We came in and there was a big cut out of the plexiglass window, there was a big gap here where it was pried out and you can notice the pry bar marks all around the window,” said Emily Ruddick, teacher at Intermountain Academy whose classroom was broken into.

Officials said the thief made off with myriad of items including 10 new Chrome books the Academy received from the Peterson Family Foundation at the beginning of the school year. The technology is something used every day at the school.

“They’re vital. Our students need to have their lessons in a variety of ways,” Ruddick said. “They need to see it, they need to read it, they need to process it.”

A smart board, along with a hot glue gun, a lunch crate, two mini fridges, six pairs of scissors and handfuls of smaller items were also taken. After the long weekend, the school noticed the ransacked classroom Tuesday morning.

“Your actions have really prevented us from learning efficiently, not just our classroom, but the entire school,” said Alex Lapadat, a student at Intermountain Academy.

For students Lapadat, this is a huge change in their way of life — at a place they call their “second home.” The school held a canned food drive and some of the donations were taken.

“That is tremendously frustrating to me because that was supposed to be going to someone who needed it, not someone who stole it,” said Xander Brown, a 12-grade student at Intermountain Academy.

Now, the school is just wanting to get everything back to normal, as they move into a new building after winter break and they hope someone comes forward.

“You don’t go into a school … for kids with special needs and take whatever you want and sell it someplace else just so you can have a living. We are people too, and we need to learn in order to graduate and have a proper life and you’re just making it harder for us,” Lapadat said.

The thief also made off with a floor fan, 10 chargers for new Chromebooks, a coffee pot, prescription glasses, granola bars and crackers, burner, dish soap, a hot glue gun, two mini fridges, two desk top computers, wireless mouse and keyboard speakers and 12 computer mice.

For more information on Intermountain Academy visit: www.intermountaincenters.org/community-services/academy/

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.