NBCPhiladelphia.com - Doug Shimell
West Philly high school students are coping with a recent computer theft.
West Philadelphia High School is celebrating its 100th anniversary. But a recent incident has tainted the celebration.
Police say that early Monday morning, between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., a group of thieves stole $80000 worth of school equipment.
58 laptops, two desktops and an LCD projector were stolen. School officials say that each laptop was worth around $1300. The thieves managed to cut through the locks on the carts where the laptops were held.
Surveillance video shows three people wearing masks and gloves running through the hallways, according to investigators.
The school has an alarm system in place, which apparently didn’t go off during the theft. Officials are doing a full review of the security system.
“Looking at their method of operation, they were pretty skilled at what they did here, pretty good knowledge of the school and targeted the nine rooms where the computers were held,” said Lt. John Walker of the Philadelphia Police.
Police also say that this wasn’t the first incident involving computer theft. Since 2009, several Philadelphia schools have been targeted with more than 300 computers stolen.
For many students, the latest theft couldn’t have come at a worse time. Many juniors at the school have to register and prepare for the SAT tests in March. Many also need to fill out online college applications.
“A lot of students don’t have the laptops or Internet usage at home, so they rely on the computers at school,” said Amira Burgess, a West Philadelphia High School student.
“Now they have nothing to work on and they lost all their work.”
While the school does have a few computers left in the computer lab, the amount isn’t nearly enough for all the students to use.
“Its making things more difficult,” said Talia Holmes, another student at the school.
“I have to find time in my day to get a computer and I have to hunt down a friend that’s home.”
Despite the difficulties, both students and teachers can do nothing but adjust to the situation.
“You always have to have a backup plan in terms of being a teacher,” said Blanchard Diavua, a math teacher at the school.
“We’ve been working out of worksheets, we’ve been using textbooks.”
Both police and school officials continue to review the surveillance video in order to bring the thieves to justice and ultimately recover the stolen computers.
If you have any information on the theft, please contact the Philadelphia Police