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Police track, return stolen iPad to 10-year-old boy in Madison

Sgt. Drew Westrope in the Investigations Unit with Madison Police Department led the case to return a stolen iPad to Joshua Wortham. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sgt. Drew Westrope in the Investigations Unit with Madison Police Department led the case to return a stolen iPad to Joshua Wortham. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Ten-year-old Joshua Wortham admires Madison detectives who returned his stolen iPad.

On June 3, Joshua was waiting in the driveway for his grandmother and put his iPad in the family’s van. Joshua, who has autism, creates art, music, vacuum and coffeemaker designs with his iPad. He uses Facetime with brother Caleb, a Children’s Hospital patient with HSP Renal disease.

Initially, detectives or Apple couldn’t find any “electronic footprint.” An attempted password change led police to North Huntsville to retrieve Joshua’s iPad on June 13.

Sgt. Drew Westrope, a 26-year department veteran, led the investigation. Joshua profusely thanked Westrope, gave him a handwritten thank-you letter and delivered home-baked cookies.

Westrope said stolen property is recovered at 10-20 percent, hampered because owners don’t record serial numbers. However, odds increase to 50-50 for stolen Apple devices, if owners install ‘Find My iPod’ or iPad software/apps.

Luckily, Joshua’s parents, William and Rebecca Wortham, had installed the app, which tracks the iPad within 200 feet. “The victim gave me an address to check. We got lucky and tracked down the individual who had it,” Westrope said.

“Wow, the Worthams really are happy … probably the most excited I’ve ever seen anyone whose property we had recovered,” he said. “The whole family was ecstatic. It was a good feeling.”

Westrope encourages all Apple owners to install the “Find My iProduct” app, which can lock the device, render it useless to the common thief and activate tracing.

Laptop computers have a similar feature, a ‘lowjack’ system. For electronics, guns or musical instruments, record the serial numbers, Westrope said. “For jewelry, take photographs and keep good descriptions.”

“Lock your vehicles!” Westrope said. “We cannot emphasize this enough. Most vehicle break-ins occur to unlocked vehicles.”

Don’t leave wallets, electronics, guns or other valuables in the car; at least, put these out of sight. “If a criminal sees a $3,000 laptop on the front seat, he’ll just break the car window,” Westrope said.

The Worthams instruct music and own Madison City Youth Orchestra. Joshua’s brothers are Zachary, Jacob, Caleb and Benjamin.

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