Detroit teacher heartbroken over stolen devices

By Tony Statz - Producer

DETROIT - It's been an emotional few days for teacher Natasha Beste.

"I seriously was going to be gone for five minutes. I was, walking out, that's all it took," she told Local 4 about her recent trip to a coffee shop on Detroit's Southwest side.

While she was grabbing her coffee near the intersection of Vernor Highway and Scotten, someone smashed the window of her car and stole 4 iPads, iPods, and other electronic gear.

"These are used constantly. These are not just fun and games," said Beste sadly.

Helping Students, Heartbreak Ahead

Beste works for a non-profit called Living Arts. It's teachers travel to various Detroit Public School to share art-infused education. For example, Beste's students were learning about math by using video animations. The projects of the entire semester were on those electronic gadgets.

"They worked so hard and their projects were so amazing! And, now they're just gone, they're just gone!" said Natasha Beste, her voice cracking with emotion. Overall, the work of about 200 students was stolen. Many of them attend Clippert Academy, while others take part in after-school programs at Living Arts.

Searching High and Low

While the devices can be tracked, Detroit Police say that data isn't specific enough to get a search warrant, without more evidence. Officers say simply knocking on doors could backfire.

"For us it would be like tipping your hand. Pretty much showing them what we already know, and we don't want to do that," said Sgt. Michael Woody.
"They could have the option of turning it off (the device), disposing of it."

There's also surveillance video that shows a vehicle pulling up behind Beste's car around the time of the break-in. Police say they'd like to speak with anyone in that car about what they might have seen.

Bester is hoping someone might find those device, or the thieves might have a change of heart.

"Please just think about 200 students... they've worked for six months!" Beste said, choking back tears. "Six months they worked on all those projects
and now they're gone."

Police say they continue to investigate the case. If you know anything about the crime or if you notice anyone trying to sell iPad or iPods that you suspect
are stolen, call Detroit police.

"We are working very diligently to get them done the right way. So, when we do catch these bad guys, the charges stick." said Sgt. Michael Woody.

If you'd like to know more about Living Arts, follow this link.

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