Robbers steal computers, students' final projects

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Thieves broke into Almaden Country School in San Jose school and took off with 40 computers. The school took a big financial loss and the students lost something more precious to them -- their year-end projects.

"I was just like shocked. I was mad that someone would do something like this to such a nice school," eight-grader Guiliana Calia said. The 13-year-old went to school Thursday morning and saw the smashed windows of the eighth-grade computer rooms.

All the laptops were stolen during the night. Two carts containing 40 computers were cleaned out. Headmaster Olaf Jorgenson says it looked like a professional job. "They knew exactly where the computers were in the room and they seemed to have been able to get the computers on and off campus very quickly and without any commotion," he said.

The Mac Book Pros were purchased just last summer. Now, with school almost out, administrators are scrambling. "We're trying to figure out ways to make computers accessible to the 8th-grade for the next three weeks of school," said the school's technology director Mary Beth Gay.

What makes the heist even crueler is that all of the 8th-graders who are graduating on to high school lost their year-end projects, which they had been working on for a long time. "It was definitely time-consuming and I spent a lot of time researching it," student Mikaela Fenton told BAC7 News.

Kameron Barzegar was doing his project on major figures of the 50s and 60s. "I had Mohammed Ali and it was like a 12-point Power Point presentation," student Kameron Barzegar said.

The theft has taken not only a financial toll on the small private school, it has also left an emotional scar on the close-knit community. "Even the kindergarteners were talking about it, so it leaves a feeling of vulnerability and fear in our kids," said Kim Reynolds, president of the Parent Service Auxiliary.

School officials are now talking to security consultants. Like many schools, this one had no alarm system. They're now looking at getting some new technology including a system that would enable a laptop to take a picture of a thief when a computer is stolen. The program would send that picture back to a security control center via GPS.

That may come in the future but for now, the school is hoping that police and the public will help them recover the stolen computers.

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