Disabled student receives new iPad after his is snatched from him on campus


Emily K. Rabasto

At approximately 6 p.m. on Monday night, a student who is confined to a wheelchair had their iPad stolen by a man near the basement floor of the American River College library. (Photo by Emily K. Rabasto)

Melissa Hurtado and Melissa Hurtado

The incident regarding a disabled student that had his iPad stolen right out of his wheelchair on Monday evening touched people’s hearts, but also has students concerned for the overall safety on campus.

“The student actually uses the iPad to communicate, in other words he’s not able to verbalize … this is an important piece of technology for the student,” said American River College’s Communications and Public Information Officer Scott Crow.

The school sent out email to all its students the following night and posted crime bulletins around campus to notify them of this incident.

The bulletin said that while the student was waiting for a class on the lower floor of the library on Monday around 6 p.m. when the suspect, a black adult male on bike,  asked the student for the time.

The student began using his iPad to articulate a response when the suspect snatched the tablet from its holding unit. The suspect then headed towards the technical education building, but Los Rios Police were unable to find him.

“We want to make sure people are informed about what’s going on,” said Crow. “Since the suspect got away, we were hoping that if someone else witnessed something, they could go ahead and contact the police.”

The school also posted information about the incident on its Facebook page and people were quick to react. Many offered to donate money to replace the iPad.

The Los Rios College Federation of Teachers was also eager to help and the day after the incident they bought the student a brand new iPad and then the police chief brought it to the student’s home.

The LRCFT union, “came forward right away and said ‘we’re just going to buy it’,” said Crow.

Along with people wanting information on where to donate, some comments on the post where concerns about campus safety and questions on how students could petition to have cameras installed all throughout campus.

“I don’t feel safe on this campus anymore and I think campus police need to step it up,” Billy Jacobs commented on the Facebook post.

According to a news report by KCRA this isn’t an isolated incident. KCRA reports that this is the second ARC student on wheelchair that has had an electronic device stolen from them recently. The other student was on his way home when he had his iPhone taken from him earlier in the year, which he reported to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

The school not only has the crime bulletins for the iPad theft posted around campus, but also flyers with sketches of the serial rapist that has been attacking women nearby ARC in the last months.

“As a female I will not take night classes anymore, because I really don’t feel safe,” ARC Student Sarah Warner commented on the Facebook post.

At the bottom of the email, there were a few good safety habits student should practice, such as walking with others during the night, staying alert of your surroundings at all times and locking your car doors as soon as you get in.

“There’s an importance to being proactive when you can, and when something does happen, afterwards have an opportunity for awareness and education…you hate to have a situation like this make people more aware of it, because you hope it never happens, but at the same time the education aspect, the awareness aspect is really important,” said Crow.