FAIRFIELD — A custodian was robbed at gunpoint late Wednesday as 41 iPads were stolen from Sem Yeto Continuation School, marking the third time this school year that devices were pilfered from the campus.
The prior two incidents were classified as burglaries, but Fairfield police are now looking for two men responsible for Wednesday night’s incident, where the school employee was restrained with duct tape.
The incident took place around 10 p.m. when a 50-year-old male custodian was walking from one building to another. He was approached by two men, one of whom carried a handgun. The custodian was told at gunpoint to lay on the ground and threats on his life were made while inquiring about the iPads, according to police reports.
After the man told them where the iPads were located, the men used duct tape to bind his hands and also taped him to a desk. The two suspects escaped on foot with the iPads and the man was able to free his hands to call police. He was still partially taped to the desk when officers arrived, reports said. He was not injured.
Jacki Cottingim-Dias, Fairfield-Suisun School District superintendent, said aside from the frustration of the third theft, she is now alarmed that employees are being put at risk.
“We were extremely concerned before. Now we have a higher level of concern,” Cottingim-Dias said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t know what’s going on with people anymore. What is happening?”
Cottingim-Dias said immediate action was taken to assure that no employee will be alone on campuses in the district. She said the district will meet with employee union groups to see how to better protect them in the future.
On Oct. 25, 23 iPads used for school instruction were taken from an interior building at Sem Yeto. Police at the time said there was no sign of forced entry and the iPads were stolen from a locked cart in a building. Another 30 iPads were stolen in September. Police also described a similar scenario of no forced entry.
The iPads are used for students between seventh and ninth grade and are used in place of textbooks.
Cottingim-Dias said she believes those stolen Wednesday were replacements after the original burglaries.
“I’m reasonably sure they are,” she said. “We just recently got them replaced.”
After the October incident, it was decided that students would take the iPads home at night and be responsible for them. Cottingim-Dias said that unfortunately hadn’t been done yet.
The first suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, around 6 feet tall, medium build, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, black leather jacket, dark jeans, black and white shoes, and wearing gloves. The second suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, around 5 feet 6 inches tall with a medium build wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans with a white design on the back pocket, white gloves and black and white shoes.
Anyone with information about any of the thefts is asked to call Fairfield police at 428-7300.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dberardinidr.