Bay Area Thieves Make Off With iPad Prototype

An iPad prototype was among the loot taken in a house break-in robbery that took place in Cupertino earlier this month, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. The victim of the crime, a 20-year-old man, was also taken from the house, though he was fortunately released by the perpetrators less than a mile from the event scene.

Along with the iPad the robbers also took other electronics, prescription drugs, and $7,500 in cash.

Authorities have arrested Katherine Stump, 20, and Alexander Nejat, 25, in connection with the theft, charging them with four felony counts, including kidnapping and first-degree robbery.

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Both suspects had been arrested in connection with a similar offense that took place in Pleasanton, about 35 miles from the Cupertino crime scene, with an inordinate number of hot hardware items (phones and computers) in their possession. The nefarious pair were identified by a police detective in Pleasanton from a composite sketch made available by the Santa Clara County Sheriff.

In the Cupertino case the victim apparently responded to an online advertisement, which led to him agreeing to meet Stump and Nejat two blocks from his Cupertino house. After which, the three proceeded to the house where the victim was then allegedly assaulted — Stump is said to have held the victim at knifepoint while Nejat went for his face with pepper spray — and robbed and then kidnapped. The victim was loaded into a car by the lawbreakers, along with the iPad prototype and the rest of their booty, and driven approximately 3/4 of a mile before being released.

For reasons unknown, the victim did not come forward until five days later.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office was careful not to disclose more details on the stolen Apple device, but confirmed that to date it has not been recovered. It is unclear at this time whether the "test model" iPad was tied to an upcoming product release or was an outdated model.

"We are still investigating everything about this case," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Jensen said.

The iPad prototype theft of April 5th is not the first time a proprietary Apple device has made it into the wind, of course, with the most noted case being the iPhone 4 prototype that was left in a Redwood City bar by an Apple engineer in early 2010. In that incident, the device made its way to a blogger at Gizmodo (who paid $5,000 for the privilege), and was soon recovered by Apple when Steve Jobs famously called Gizmodo's Jason Chen, telling Chen "Hi, this is Steve. I really want my phone back."

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