SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A local church is leading an effort to raise money to replace $20,000 worth of iPads stolen from a Caddo Parish school.
"When I heard this tragic event taking place, I immediately felt in my heart to make a difference," said Bishop Larry Brandon with Praise Temple Full Gospel in Shreveport.
Praise Temple,in partnership with Code Red and the Northwest Louisiana Community Development Corporation, says they have started a relief fund for Oak Park MicroSociety Elementary.
A charging cart loaded with 35 iPads was taken sometime late Thursday night, according to Victor Mainiero, Communication Director for Caddo Schools. An alarm was set off, but there was no one there when police arrived.
Watching KSLA News 12, Brandon saw an interview with Principal Sabrina Anderson's interview in which she said that the theft is particularly distressing because for many of her students the only time they get exposed to that kind of technology is when they come to school.
"Gosh, to say the least I was moved by that because something I've been saying for a long time, if our children are going to dream bigger, we have to expose them to bigger," said Brandon.
Mainiero confirms that there is surveillance video, and police are reviewing it.
Citing the stolen equipment as "a vital part of the educational advancement of the
students at Oak Park," organizers of the fundraiser are asking for community support by donating iPads and/or monetary donations. Donations of equipment can be made beginning Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at Praise Temple.
A relief fund has been opened at Chase for monetary donations, under the name "Praise Temple's Oak Park Technology Relief Fund."
Praise Temple will also host a prayer vigil at 6:00PM on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. They are located at 4725 Greenwood Rd. in Shreveport.
School board officials say evidence has been turned over to Shreveport Police, and an investigation is underway to bring the thieves to justice.
If you have any information that may help lead to an arrest or a recovery of the stolen iPads, call Crime Stoppers at 318-673-7373.