California family looks to community to help recover stolen iPad that gave little girl a voice

“The thief who broke into the dark blue Mazda Protege parked outside Grocery Outlet in Eureka this week might have known they were stealing a little girl’s backpack,” Kaci Poor reports for The Times-Standard.

“What they probably didn’t know when they slim-jimmed the door and grabbed the purple bag covered in butterflies, is that they were also stealing Teira Manfredda’s voice — a voice she worked hard to earn,” Poor reports. “Teira was born with a chromosome deletion that mimics autism, her mother Colleen Leydecker said. The disorder –called Phelan-McDermid syndrome — interferes with Teira’s ability to communicate verbally.”

Poor reports, “Inside Teira’s stolen backpack was an iPad, used by the 11-year-old to communicate with the world through an application called Scene&Heard [US$49.99]. Leydecker said Teira’s vocabulary expanded from about 150 words to close to 350 with the application… Debbie Bettencourt said her daughter and son-in-law were devastated to learn their daughter’s iPad had been stolen, especially after all of the work Teira put in to earn it. ‘Teira had only just gotten the iPad after selling over 3,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies,’ Bettencourt said… The entire community rallied around Teira when she was selling her cookies, Johanson said. She hopes that will happen again now. ‘It was really the community that gave her this gift,” she said. “I am really hoping that it will be the community that can help get it back.'”

“For more information on how to help or to make a donation, Colleen Leydecker can be contacted at [707] 502-7171,” Poor reports. “If discovered, the backpack can be dropped off — no questions asked — at the local Girl Scouts of Northern California office, 3203 T St. in Eureka.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. It’s not a cut and dried as that. If the iPad is a Wi-fi only model, it can only be found using iCloud if the iPad is in a recognized (or connected) Wi-fi network.

      It would be best if the iPad had password-protection enabled, but for a young person with special needs, that is not always practical. Any thief can go into Settings to disable the “Find My iPad” setting, too.

  1. Thanks MDN for posting this story. I notice it is iOS only.

    Reminds me of the video of the young man in Australia who had his Mac set up for use by his severely limited body. To create even simple things took patience few of us can muster.

  2. The article mentions writing down the serials of your electronics. If she bought it from an Apple Store and has the receipt it should have the serial number of the iPad right on that receipt. Not to mention if you register your product I believe you could look it up on Apple’s website. Worst case if they bought it in an Apple store they could go back to the store and have the store look up the serial number from the date of purchase.

  3. There shouldn’t be a market for stolen iPads and iPhones.
    Apple should have a traceable serial number in each device that could be traced once it is connected to the internet and a police report if filed.

  4. I assume that the little girl was a member of the Girl Scouts as the story mentioned her selling Girl Scout cookies. Does the Girl Scouts have programs and activities for persons with autism and other serious medical conditions? Was the little girl interacting with cookie customers using her iPad or was she merely present on the scene to illicit sympathy and promote sales?

    I believe that Girl Scouts receive a pittance of profit for selling cookies and the bulk of the money goes to the company instead. It seems that calling these snacks Girl Scout cookies is a gross exaggeration. These girl are used instead as non-paid hourly workers who receive a minuscule percentage of sales. How and why the management of Girl Scouts encourages minors to act as essentially unpaid workers is inexplicable.

    1. Well nothing works without money. if they want to do something they have get the money somehow. Donations are one way, but selling something like cookies with good profit is kind of better way. Cookies are easy to sell.

    2. I can see both sides. Your argument has a deeply negative angle about it, and you make some fair points. But you also leave out the fact that these Scout programs build confidence and social interaction. For the kids, it’s not really about the money. That part needs to be given light, too.

    3. Aren’t you just the happy happy joy joy little bundle?

      You might consider that it might have some bearing on why you never get invited to any of the good parties.

  5. those of you saying just turn on “Find my iPad”…that only works if your iPad has active 4G service or if someone turns it on and connects to a wi-fi network. my friend misplaced her iPad, and Find my iPad was useless to her as it wasn’t on any network. fortunately she did get it back…

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