Charge: $65K worth of iPads swiped by Clint ISD chief technology officer

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The former chief technology officer for the sprawling Clint Independent School District has been charged with the theft of at least 132 iPads valued at $64,656, according to court documents.

El Paso County County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Philip Acosta, 37, after tracking an iPad back from a sale at a local pawn shop, according to a story in the El Paso Times Thursday.

Acosta is being held on a $75,000 bail in the El Paso County Jail.

Officials for the 380 square mile, 12,000 student district east of El Paso have been able to account for the number of iPads in the criminal complaint. But the woman whose attempted pawn led to Acosta’s arrest told detectives she and a boyfriend had bought 200 iPads from Paul Lopez, the alias Acosta used when selling the technology, according to an affidavit filed with the El Paso County Court.  

According to the criminal complaint, Acosta began stealing the iPads, most of them purchased by the district with federal grant money, last April. He set up accounts under the phony name and was selling the iPads on the digital marketplaces letgo and OfferUp for as little as $40, according to the complaint.

The woman and her boyfriend began buying the iPads in August. When they met “Lopez,” according to the complaint, he was wearing a Clint ISD identification badge. Acosta told the couple he had acquired the iPads to sell because the school district had replaced them with new technology. The couple resold the iPads, often doubling their profit, the complaint said.

She told detectives she stumbled onto Acosta’s real identity on Facebook. She Googled his name to learn he was the Clint ISD technology officer.

After a pawn shop owner flagged one of the iPads for detectives, one of them arranged to make a purchase from the woman. The iPad had a school district sticker on it, Desert Hills Elementary School.

The woman and her boyfriend told detectives they were unaware the tablets had been stolen. They turned over 30 of the iPads to investigators, the complaint said. Detectives with a search warrant recovered more of the iPads on March 15 in Acosta’s home.

Mark Lisheron can be reached at [email protected].

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