Principal Catches IPad Thief


SAN FRANCISCO—More than two dozen iPads were reported stolen at one high school in San Francisco and the suspected thief was caught by the school’s principal on Thursday, March 21. Every student has an iPad at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in the Sunset District because the school leases them from Apple and lends them to students.

Suspect Gabriel Ruiz-Vega. Photo courtesy of SFPD.

Students gave a description of a suspicion man who was recently seen on campus and was spotted by the school’s Dean of Students, Bill Gotch, on Thursday at around 3:45 p.m. Gotch saw the man with a backpack on the athletic field and asked him why he was on campus. The suspect allegedly began to give inconsistent information causing Gotch to lead the man into Principal Patrick Ruff’s office.

Ruff, 43, told the suspect he would be calling the police making him attempt to flee from the scene. Ruff chased the man through the schoolyard and past the track, grabbing him as the suspect tried to jump the fence. The suspect tried to run away again after police arrived but Ruff managed to capture him once again.

Police eventually arrested the suspect who was identified as 27-year-old Gabriel Ruiz-Vega of South San Francisco. He was taken to the San Francisco county jail where he is facing 12 charges including second degree burglary and receiving or buying stolen property. Officials also reported that Ruiz-Vega had a warrant out of San Bruno Police Department.

School officials believe the suspect spent a number of days on the campus posing as a student in order to steal iPads out of students’ backpacks in the athletic area while they were exercising. The school was able to recover seven iPads from Ruiz-Vega all of which matched the serial numbers of the school’s stolen tablets.

By Ivetta Babadjanian