LEANING RIGHT - A high crime organization is directed at a target of opportunity and includes a mastermind, “gofers”, distribution, a market, and an opportunity for repeat execution.
Stopping to take a closer look at the LAUSD plans to initially spend $1 billion on Apple iPads for Los Angeles students show that all the above elements exist for such an enterprising organization to prosper. While the public has concerned itself with what the students will do with the iPads there are probably several inside groups that are working on getting their hands on the iPads before the students.
Coincidentally the Los Angeles County prosecutors just charged 13 employees in four of the regional school areas most financially strapped with stealing thousands of textbooks for a Long Beach buyer who paid them $200,000 in bribes.
The 36 page indictment tells of a book selling scheme in which a book buyer recruited two librarians, a campus supervisor, a warehouse manager, and office technicians to steal thousands of books from schools in Los Angeles.
Frederick, a Long Beach book buyer who during a two year period paid a dozen school employees to steal textbooks in literature and languages, economics, physics, anatomy and physiology, prosecutors said.
Included in the ring are:
Veronica C, a librarian in the Lynwood Unified School District who accepted $14,000.
Shari S, a librarian at Crozier Middle School in Inglewood who received $4,000.
Vincent B, a retired Bellflower district warehouse supervisor who received $47,000.
Frank F, worked as a plant manager in the Inglewood district when he received $1,000 in checks and cash.
Sandra W, an office technician at University High, who received$ 34,000.
Denise H, an office technician at Webster School, who received $4,000, Dinah G, an office technician at Locke High who received $6,000.
Adrienne D, an office technician at Venice High received $12,000.
Sherry C, an office technician at Audubon Middle School, received $1,000. Stephanie B, an office technician at Perry Middle School received $4,600.
Olalekan A, an office technician at Santee Education Center received $21,000.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in announcing the corruption probe that “Taking books out of the hands of public school students is intolerable especially when school employees sell them for their own personal profit.
When translated this means that it is the height of crime and criminal activity.
With just a little imagination it is easy to conceive this sordid episode that involves a few thousand bucks worth of books translating to billions of dollars worth of Apple iPads. Groups similar to the one just described abound and the take is worth a billion times more.
In my CityWatch article “We Are Going to Polish the Old Apple (iPad) for the Students” it was proposed that many of the iPads will be sold by the older students. With just a little more imagination many of the rings described above will realize that they themselves can steal the iPads and sell them on the street. The street market is a lot larger than trying to sell them back to the school as they did with the books.
There is no need to pass the iPads on to the students so one step in the equation is eliminated, the market is worldwide, and it repeats every 3 to 4 years.
One of the first questions we ask ourselves is whether there is any precedence to this scenario? It so happens one has to go all the way back to August 2 in Winooski, VT where Charles R was caught stealing iPads from the hallway of JFK Elementary School. He was caught on camera stealing the iPads and after these images aired on TV dozens of tips came in.
Winooski Police Chief Steve M said that a little research showed that Charles was already wanted for a probation violation for burglary. He was tracked to a motel where he was found hiding with the stolen iPads. Police are in the process of connecting him to the theft of 44 other stolen iPads from the school.
In the meantime the school will not even get the iPads for start of the term because they are being held as evidence. Makes one wonder how much training and other expenses were incurred by the school district.
Slightly more recent and more upscale was the theft of 500 iPads in Sheboygan, WI on 5 September 2013. A former technology coordinator for the Random Lake School District was charged with felony theft after officials say he stole more than 500 iPads and other tablets from the district valued at $180,000.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Sheboygan County the thief stole the iPads over the past eight months and sold them online. The thief also did the same thing with a shipment of 300 Asus tablet computers that arrived earlier in the summer.
The event that really takes the cake is the thief periodically arranged for the donation of iPads to the district by Bertram Wireless of Random Lake. The donations dated back to 2012 and the business estimates it donated nearly 50 iPads. However, the thief never told the district that the iPads were being donated and instead took and sold them.
District officials said earlier that they’d filed a claim with the district insurance company. New equipment has been ordered to repair damaged iPads but school will be open soon without the equipment.
Another recent heist of iPads occurred at New York John F. Kennedy’s International Airport and while it does not involve a school district it does hype the opportunity target that exists with very little organization or a coordinated ring of accomplices
A lone worker in shipping stole $1.9 million worth of iPad tablets but couldn’t keep his mouth shut and kept asking his associates for information and advice.
Of interest, however, is the fact he worked for Cargo Air Services which was also the site of the “Good Fellas” Lufthansa Heist of $5 million cash and $1 million jewels.
These nickel and dime scenarios provide background for the interest that $1 billion in iPads will attract.
(Kay Martin is an author and a CityWatch contributor. His new book, Along for the Ride, is now available.
He can be reached at email@example.com)
Vol 11 Issue 73
Pub: Sept 10, 2013