Over 100 laptops stolen from Hampton school; 1 person charged in connection

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Police need help catching a pair of thieves who allegedly stole more than 100 laptops from a school.

Police say two suspects broke into the George P. Phenix School on Aug. 17 around 3 a.m. and stole 119 MacBook laptops. The school says the devices are valued at about $90,000.

Police say they got called to the school on Big Bethel Road around 10 a.m. for a burglary complaint. It’s unclear why it took seven hours for police to be notified of the break-in.

“They stole from the kids,” said Robin Napier-Shackelford, a parent. “They should turn themselves in. I mean that was kids you did it to. How are you going to take away from a child’s education?”

Diana Gulotta, a spokeswoman for the Hampton City Schools, says the classroom laptops were stolen from a locked cart.

“I don’t know if we’re seeing a decline in learning because there’s other tools teachers can use to engage students, but it definitely is frustrating when thieves are coming in and basically stealing from children,” said Gulotta.

The students will share laptops for now and the computers will be replaced with Chromebooks by December, according to Gulotta.

Since 2014, records show nine schools in the district have been targeted and more than 500 laptops have been stolen.

In February, police say thieves busted through the windows and stole more than a dozen computers at John Tyler Elementary School.

In May, three suspects accused of stealing 30 iPads and Macbooks from Smithfield High School were caught on video. The suspects broke in though a window and then went right to the library, where the electronics were kept.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office says no one has been arrested in the case. Deputies are working with the Hampton Police Department to see if the incidents are connected.

Averi Armohn Wilkins, 23, of Hampton, is facing a charge of receiving stolen goods in the Phenix School case.