Thieves break into four Eustis schools, steal iPads, cash

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EUSTIS, Fla. - Investigators in Lake County are trying to figure out who broke into four schools in the last 10 days.

Eustis High School was broken into overnight. The same scene had played out at Eustis Elementary, Eustic Heights Elementary and Eustis Middle School.

The thieves got away with some iPads and petty cash, but school officials said it could have been so much worse.

The thieves stole the master keys to the building at Eustis Elementary, but police found the keys dropped in the street two blocks from the school. It could have cost several thousand dollars to rekey the building.

Officer Robert Simken of Eustis Police Department said it doesn't seem like a coincidence.

"They could be related. And they're looking into that right now," Simken said.

Visitors' parking at Eustis High was crowded by squad cars and sheriff's cruisers. The perpetrators kicked in doors, smashed windows and ransacked offices. Officials said the stolen iPads and cash add up to a few thousand dollars and damage repair could top $6,000.

Some are wondering why, after three break-ins, police couldn't prevent a fourth.

"I can understand a statement like that, or at least feeling like that. It would be frustrating to us also. Which it is," Simken said.

Police did order extra patrols around the school, but the thief or thieves still slipped in.

Chris Patton of Lake County Schools said all county schools are now being extra careful.

"There's a good chance they're not going to stop. They've been successful four times, and perhaps they'll move to another city," Patton said.

One security camera got a shot of the thief, but police said it's a grainy picture.

They might put it out there anyway, later this week.