06/29/2012 06:02 EDT | Updated 08/29/2012 05:12 EDT

School iPads, iMacs stolen in Lower Mainland

Richmond police are hot on the trail of a number of Apple iMac computers and iPad tablets that were reportedly stolen from three elementary schools over recent months.

Details of their investigation are described in documents filed to obtain a search warrant for an East Vancouver address.

In the search warrant, Richmond RCMP said that software installed on the missing iMacs has helped track the computers.

Monica Pamer, Richmond's school superintendent, said the cost of replacing the computers eats directly into her district's bottom line.

"It comes out of a budget that's really not intended to replace equipment that's been stolen. The main portion of our budget goes to staffing for teachers," she said.

The alleged Richmond thefts are part of a growing problem faced by Lower Mainland school districts.

Kurt Heinrich, a spokesman for the Vancouver School Board, said that 20 iPads have gone missing from the city's schools since January.

Heinrich described the thefts as "pretty unconscionable" and said the cost of an insurance deductible means school districts have to suck up the losses.

Heinrich and Pamer said they hope better school security and advanced tracking devices will curb the problem.