Published Friday, May 17, 2013 | 8:59 a.m.
Updated Friday, May 17, 2013 | 2:54 p.m.
A teenager died Thursday after a man grabbed an iPad out of his hands and fled in an SUV that ran over the boy as he struggled to hold on to the tablet.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Marcos Vincente Arenas, 15, of Las Vegas. He was a freshman at Bonanza High School, officials with the Clark County School District confirmed.
Metro Police also released photos of what were described as a "person of interest and a vehicle of interest" in the case.
“There has got to be people who saw stuff, and we want those people to come forward,” Metro spokesman Bill Cassell said.
Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Metro Police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run at the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Scholl Drive, about a half mile from Bonanza High School.
Investigators determined Arenas was walking on the south side of Charleston Boulevard carrying the iPad when a white vehicle, believed to be a Ford Explorer or Expedition manufactured between 2008 and 2010, stopped and a man exited the passenger side of the vehicle.
The man attempted to steal the iPad and started to drag the teen, who was trying to hold on to the device, police said.
Arenas was dragged to the vehicle, and the suspect got back into the SUV with the teen still grasping at the tablet or somehow being held by the suspect, according to a Metro news release.
The vehicle then fled the area westbound on Charleston Boulevard with Arenas still at the passenger side door. Arenas fell and was struck by the vehicle, police said.
He died at University Medical Center.
Grief counselors were dispatched to Bonanza High School today to help students and staff cope with the death.
A memorial at the site of the deadly incident was growing today in honor of Arenas. It included a pot of flowers with this note attached from his grandfather: “I love you Marcos. I miss you!!”
Renee Gardner, 38, who lives in an apartment complex across the street from were Arenas was attacked, added a bouquet of flowers, candle and card to the memorial.
As the mother of an 11-year-old boy, Gardner said, Arenas’ death especially pains her.
“My child has an iPad from school,” she said. “I don’t let it come home; I let it stay at school.”
“This could have been anyone’s child,” Gardner said. “It could have been mine.”
The suspect who exited the vehicle and accosted the teen was described as a white male adult in his late 20s, about 6 feet tall and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds.
He has short blond hair, which was slicked back and shaved on the sides and a neatly trimmed beard.
He was last seen wearing a white tank top and blue jeans.
The person driving the vehicle was described as a black male adult in his mid-20s with a medium build and a fade haircut. He may have large tattoos on both arms and was last seen wearing a black shirt and possibly a long chain necklace with a pendant.
The iPad that was stolen was not a school-issued iPad, Clark County School District Police Detective Mitch Maciszak said.
Metro detectives noticed a rise in iPad thefts from juveniles about three months ago, Cassell said.
The crime is part of a trend called “apple picking” — street slang used to describe thefts of Apple products, such as iPhones, iPods and iPads, Cassell said.
“They’re valuable; they are something that can be quickly sold,” he said. “They’re lightweight, portable — you can run and hide with them. It’s about the next best thing to stealing money.”
The district has distributed more than 7,000 iPads to students at five low-income elementary schools.
Of those iPads, about 80 of them have been stolen, although it is unknown if they were taken forcibly or stolen from an unattended backpack. The majority of stolen iPads have been recovered with the help of local pawn shops and the iPad’s GPS, Maciszak said.
Metro officers have arrested several suspects from two groups — one operating in the northwest valley and one downtown — accused of stealing iPads from juveniles, Cassell said.
Some of the cases involved older teens stealing from either younger teens or children, Cassell said.
Police are again advising children to conceal their iPads and to not use them in public. If children are confronted by a thief, they should surrender their iPad, Maciszak said.
“It’s property. It can be recovered,” Maciszak said. “Your life is more valuable than a piece of property.”
Police ask that anyone with information contact Metro’s homicide section at 828-3521 or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555 or online at crimestoppersofnv.com.